When it comes to body confidence, Iskra Lawrence is all in.
After years of subjecting her mental and physical health to the unrealistic standards of the fashion industry, the model made the important decision to take back control. Since then, the Aerie Role Model and Vital Proteins ambassador adopted a new, much more body-positive mentality, which she says goes against what most consumers are taught to believe is commercially beautiful.
Lively chatted with the body-positive activist about the a-ha moment that challenged her previous belief system, the mantra she lives by, and what every woman should know when embarking on her own journey to self-acceptance.
Iskra Lawrence: For years, I was making horrible decisions in regard to my health in an effort to fit the standard that agencies had set. They would tell me, “You’re just too curvy” or “too womanly” and I realized I had been damaging my mental and physical health by trying to attain an unrealistic body ideal for me. I was never able to get small enough for the sample size, so I thought, maybe plus-size modeling is for me. When they told me I was too small for plus-size modeling, that was when I realized, “Wow, I will never be good enough if I keep trying to fit into other people’s standards.” That was the groundbreaking moment when I realized I had spent so many years making myself feel awful for no reason, so I decided there isn’t anything wrong with me. I’m human. This is my body. I should be focusing on making myself feel the best I can. Once I mastered that, it became about trying to change the industry instead of changing myself.
IL: Self-care is simply making time to look after yourself. And it’s crazy that we aren’t taught how to do that or what it might look like. You have to figure out the tools in which to find balance in your life, so you can be the best version of yourself. Having a mindset of gratitude is a huge component of that because it takes you out of any ego or negative emotion and encourages you to realize how incredibly lucky you are to have even woken up today and how many things we may take for granted which in my personal experience diminishes insecurity and gives perspective. Turn “I can’t wear this bikini because of my cellulite” into “I’m so grateful I’m able to enjoy this beach today and I’m wearing this bikini because I deserve to enjoy this experience.”
IL: My biggest insecurity is my skin. There are some days when I feel like all I see is “bad skin” and often times, I resort to covering it up. On days like this, I have to remember that my insecurity comes from the toxic beauty ideals and photoshopped images. People have breakouts, it's totally normal! Typically, I will find a way to fight back by doing the exact opposite of my instinct (to cover it up). Instead, I will take a pledge to not wear makeup for a week and embrace my imperfections because at the end of the day, I know I am enough just the way I am.
IL: Firstly, this feeling is completely normal, and you are not alone. You were created on purpose for a purpose. Being able to love your body and yourself enables you to focus on how you can achieve your purpose on this planet. I would suggest repeating the following affirmations to yourself: I am whole, I am loved, I am worthy, I am enough.
IL: I love learning new things, so when a friend told me about the benefits of collagen, I was ready to find out more. I noticed friends taking big tablets, multiple times a day, and that route was definitely not for me, so when I discovered Vital Proteins not only had the stick packs, which I love to travel with, but a Collagen Water™, I was so excited to try it out. Before I knew it, grabbing my Collagen Water™ before heading out the door in the morning became my routine. Enjoying taking a supplement that enhances my life is game-changing!