Model Behavior

Model Iskra Lawrence Shares Side-by-Side Photos Of Her 10 Year Body Positive Transformation

"The best thing I ever did was focus on looking after myself and being the best me I could be."

Model Behavior is a series highlighting fashion models promoting body positivity, and working to create inclusivity and diversity within the industry by expanding our definition of conventional beauty.

Model and body positive activist Iskra Lawrence has become known for encouraging self-care, being outspoken about harmful beauty standards, and expertly silencing body-shamers. The 27-year-old often uses her Instagram as a way to engage her fans in conversations about self-love. 

Most recently, she posted a side-by-side comparison photo of herself — on the left is a photo of her from 10 years ago and the one on the right is from a few weeks ago. "I remember being proud of how skinny I looked during this shoot," she wrote about the photo on the left. "And how now people call me fat when I'm just happy to be alive and grateful for this body I call my home." 

Ten years ago, the number on the scale was a big part of how Lawrence measured her value. Now, she knows that fitting into a limited standard of beauty is far from what matters most.

"I used to seek approval from the fashion industry and tried to be 'perfect.' I thought if I looked like 'her' (an unrealistic beauty ideal), I'd be happy, successful and loved," Lawrence continued. "All I found was failure (because you can't change who you are) emptiness (because my time and energy was being used up trying to achieve something completely self absorbed and shallow sacrificing doing things I loved) and unhappiness (because no restrictive diet or abusive exercise feels good)." 

Like so many, Lawrence struggled with body insecurities and eating disorders (EDs) when she was younger. She followed restrictive diets in hopes of dropping her measurements so she could succeed in the modeling industry. At 15, her modeling agency dropped her because her hips were deemed "too big." When she tried to break into the plus-size industry, she was told she was "too small." But she persevered and her hard work has certainly paid off. 

"I share my experiences with you all because if you are feeling like I did there is another way and those recovering from EDs you're not alone," Lawrence wrote on Instagram. "The best thing I ever did was focus on looking after myself and being the best me I could be. Seeing value in who I was. The impact I could have in the world and people around me. Trying to give, instead of focusing on myself, my image and needing approval from others. And accepting that I am meant to be here just like you, and we were all created to be imperfectly perfect."

Lawrence learned to stop focusing on changing her body and instead start listening to it. 

"I started Investing time into self-care, doing things that made me happy. Listening to my body and mind and nourishing them both, without guilt," she wrote. "That is 10 years all squished into a lil insta caption but it did take time, but it was soooo damn worth it."

To help others along their self-love journey, Lawrence launched everyBODYwithiskra, an online wellness and lifestyle platform to help others get tools and support to find health and happiness.

"I wanted to create something for adults that still needed a safe space that's judgement free to go on a positive journey of self-love," she wrote. "I felt the need to create this as I wish I could have had this when I was struggling and, if I'm able to use that to help even one person, even better."

To learn more about the resources available to people struggling with eating disorders, visit nationaleatingdisorders.org. To learn to help someone in need, visit here.

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