Model and body acceptance activist Iskra Lawrence is a role model in every way. The 30-year-old became an internet sensation after landing the role of Global Brand Ambassador for the intimate apparel brand Aerie. Since then, Lawrence has been using her platform to empower women of all shapes and sizes and to take down body-shamers on social media. Mediaplanet asked for her takes on body confidence and self-love.
What makes you feel body-confident?
Knowing that my body is my home and that it’s capable of so many incredible things. I feel confident when I love my body or achieve a new goal I set for myself — maybe lifting a heavier weight, trying a new type of exercise, or hiking in a new location.
Did you struggle with body image and self-confidence growing up?
It wasn’t until I entered into the modelling world at 13 years old that I became hyper-aware of my body. Being in an environment where you’re directly judged on the way you look immediately influenced how I felt about myself and how I viewed my body as either a success or a downfall. If you didn’t get the job it felt like there was something wrong with you — or on the flip side, you felt beautiful and acknowledged when you’re chosen or celebrated in the industry. But having that be the focus is detrimental to where you place your worth and value.
What advice would you offer to people struggling with self-image?
You have to break down where any negative feelings towards yourself stem from and start to redefine how you value yourself. We all have so much to offer the world and so many beautiful and unique qualities, so you need to find those things and remind yourself of them if you’re feeling down — whether it be by affirmations, post-it notes on your mirror, or having a friend work with you to send little positive reminders.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned about body empowerment?
That it’s not linear and we go through so many different seasons in life. Becoming a mother has given me a completely new perspective and my priorities have totally changed. That’s why you can’t hold yourself to a perfect standard in any sense — because you’re human and it’s okay to not be okay sometimes. There’s no finish line, so you may feel super confident one day and struggle the next, but finding ways to value yourself in other areas of your life will help you empower yourself.
Why do you think it’s important for women to practise self-love and personal care?
Self-care is important for all people. Just like we learn a skill in life that aids our career or we do kind things for others, we deserve to also invest time into caring for ourselves. There’ll be times in life that create huge moments of pain or impact. If you had a physical injury, you’d go to the doctor or physiotherapist. We have to take care of healing ourselves on the inside, too. Showing yourself kindness can really change your whole life and I believe that love starts with choosing to be kind to yourself every day.