Long gone are the days of the fashion industry featuring only models who are strictly a size zero. Ashley Graham made history as the first plus-size model featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and Tess Holliday looked like a total bombshell on the cover of People.
Another major player in the body positive movement is English beauty Iskra Lawrence. She’s one of the ladies featured in the widely popular Aerie Real campaign and, moreover, she’s someone everyone should be following on Instagram. Like Tess, who started the #effyourbeautystandards hashtag, Iskra regularly posts inspirational and super real messages to her followers. Whether she’s talking about loving her belly rolls or embracing her curvy thighs, she serves as a constant (and often necessary) reminder that beauty is not defined by one body type. We recently caught up with Iskra to chat with her about how she came to accept her curves, what she hopes to see in the fashion world’s future and what life is like as an AerieReal girl.
B+C: What’s one life habit you try to keep up to help maintain a healthy body image?
IL: Everything in moderation. I look after myself by working out and eating nutritious foods, but at the same time, I don’t worry about eating pizza or dessert. I also set realistic, achievable goals, like cooking at home one more night a week, so I can make healthy choices without setting myself up for failure.
B+C: What are your thoughts on all the attention the plus-size modeling world has received over the last couple of years?
IL: I’m so excited to be a part of this evolution and witness diversity and inclusivity in the modeling world. The more attention this movement receives, the more it can help both men and women realize that there are alternatives to the traditional standards of beauty and that they aren’t defined by a certain look or size.
B+C: What is one change you would like to see in the plus-size fashion + modeling world in the foreseeable future?
IL: I would like to get rid of labels altogether to create a seamless inclusion of models of all sizes. Beauty is more than skin-deep, and I hope to one day open up a magazine and see curvier models in campaigns and editorials and have that be the norm. We’ve made a lot of progress so far, but there’s still work to be done for the industry to be truly diverse and inclusive.
B+C: What’s been the most inspiring moment for you during your time as an Aerie Real girl?
IL: It’s been such an incredible experience working with Aerie, so it’s hard to pick one. Whenever I travel to different stores and meet girls from different cities and backgrounds, I am continually humbled by their stories and how we are all connected by the similar battles we face with ourselves and our bodies. I love listening and learning about what they’ve gone through and how they’ve been inspired by the #aeriereal campaign and other changes in the industry.
B+C: Have there been any defining moments in your modeling career that have helped you really accept, appreciate and love your body?
IL: I will never forget the moment I saw myself on a billboard in Times Square. It was a swim campaign with Aerie and was completely unretouched. After 10 years in the industry constantly being told I was either too big or too small and feeling unworthy as a model, seeing myself and my body on that billboard finally gave me the self-confidence I had been denying myself. My dream is to help every woman and man who struggles with the same feelings discover their true, individual beauty and learn to love themselves just the way they are.
What do you hope to see more of in the modeling world? Share with us on Twitter @BritandCo.