Iskra Lawrence Has Redefined Her Insecurities—And She Wants You To Do The Same

Iskra Lawrence stepped into the crowded Women’s Health photo studio, stripped out of her streetwear, then tried on a bunch of swimsuits in front of a set full of strangers for a completely unretouched photoshoot like it was no biggie. And while this might seem like your own personal nightmare, for the international model, Aerie RoleModel, Instagram influencer, and body acceptance advocate, it’s just another day at work.

But that level of confidence doesn’t just happen overnight. Iskra’s put in the work to get to that positive headspace, and she had a lot to overcome. “It was hard as a teenager,” she told me over the phone prior to our shoot. “I was curvier at a young age and was confused by my body.” She tried to fake some self-assuredness by wearing more makeup, push-up bras, and revealing clothes. “Being sexy was the only way I felt like I was getting validation for my body.”

If being a teenager wasn’t hard enough already, she entered the modeling world at 13 and had a new set of peers to compare herself to—a group that consisted exclusively of sample-sized models. “Relatively I was just a normal, healthy-looking teen. But I developed body dysmorphia and an eating disorder because I had these unrealistic comparisons.”

She spent hours measuring every part of her body, but the main focus was her strong legs. “I never wore ankle boots, never wore skirts that cut me off at the wrong height, and even seeing knee-high boots on set would make me nervous.” The notion of a thigh gap (when you stand feet-together and the inside of your thighs don’t touch) was something that also consumed her thoughts. “My thighs rub together,” she says. “Even if I was unhealthfully restricting [which she was] and trying every fad diet possible [which she did], I could never get a thigh gap.”

read the interview here