Iskra Lawrence: EveryBODY is Beautiful

A few years ago, the popular sister store of American Eagle (Aerie) launched a beautiful and brilliant No-Retouching campaign. Their models became more natural: stretch marks, cellulite, scars, beauty marks would all be visible to the public eye. Additionally, Aerie added a wide range of diverse models -- some bigger, some smaller, some lighter, some darker, but all beautiful. 

One model in particular, Iskra Lawrence, has taken the world by storm. 

I remember scrolling through my Instagram feed a couple years ago and discovered Iskra on Aerie's page. Although she is a few inches taller than I, she has the same curvy bottom, and I was ecstatic that Aerie was promoting their brand using a model of this build. Years later, and I'm still obsessed with Iskra.

Not only is she Aerie's "Role Model," she is an advocate for NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association), as she is a survivor of an eating disorder herself. Being a model, she was always told she was "too fat" to be a model but also "too skinny" to be considered plus size. She is now at a stage where she promotes living a healthy life style and loving yourself for the way that you are. Her instagram pictures often have the hashtag "#everyBODY is beautiful" because she stands for all women everywhere loving themselves and their bodies, because no two bodies are exactly the same. 

I have always struggled with loving my body. "I'm too fat to wear this" or "This outfit makes me look huge" are some thoughts that cross my mind. Since Aerie has launched this campaign and I have been following Iskra, my outlook has become different. I no longer blame or shame my body when something does not look good on me. I try my hardest to be positive and love myself. I nourish my body right and exercise four to five days every week. I still eat pizza and cake. Even Iskra eats pizza and cake. "You don't have to wake up and worry about your thigh gap" she says. 

It's women like Iskra Lawrence that empower other women to be self-confident. It's companies like Aerie that don't make women feel insecure about their bodies. 

I hardly ever shop at Victoria's Secret anymore. I compare myself to their tall, slender models and feel ashamed I don't look like them. In Aerie, I see how many different, beautiful models they have and feel like I can buy anything in the store.

Thank you, Aerie, and thank you, Iskra.