Iskra Lawrence: The Body-Positive Role Model And Aerie Model We Always Wanted & Needed

After spending countless hours of scrolling through images of perfect models and celebrities, it is not uncommon for comparisons and negative thoughts to begin to resonate in your mind. This can be quite discouraging and damaging to mental health because the models that grace the magazines, catalogues, and ads usually look nothing like the main demographic that is being targeted. Teens in particular are likely to face mental illness as a result of social media. According to The National Center for Health Research, “one psychology professor at San Diego State University [he] discovered that teens who spend 5 or more hours a day online were 71% more likely to have at least one risk factor for suicide compared to teens who spent only 1 hour a day online” (Mir and Novas). This is a staggering statistic. An activity that is meant to spread positivity had developed into a dangerous portal for young adults.

(Source: @iskra on Instagram)

Many models contribute to the darkness of social and post their lavish, flawless, and effortless lives. I too fell victim to thinking that these models are perfect. Then, I came across the model Iskra Lawrence. Iskra is a plus sized model who is well known for her work as Aerie’s lead “role model”. She has an impressive social media following of 4.4 million followers on Instagram. Through her Instagram, she recounts of the times where she too, would compare herself to other models. Iskra speaks of how she developed an eating disorder because of the stress to remain “stick-thin” during the start of her career as a model. Iskra writes of how she really struggled while she battled her eating disorder. Iskra’s open dialogue about the damage that eating disorders and unrealistic female body expectations allows for her followers to know they are not alone in the battle for self-love. After winning her battle with her eating disorder, Iskra now is an incredibly active advocate for NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association). She has appeared at the NEDA walks, such as the one in NYC this past fall. Iskra provides a strong supportive platform on her social media, which is why I find her page and activism so powerful.

(Source: @iskra on Instagram)

Unlike many other models, Iskra is sure to post all of her photos completely free of editing. Photoshop is a cruel manipulation of the body that “corrects” what society views as “ugly”. I find this utterly disgusting. Iskra also feels this way, so all of her posts she is sure to emphasize that everybody is beautiful, no matter the shape, size, color, texture, etc. For example, she constantly emphasizes how stretch marks and cellulite are normal for the human body. Self-love is the motto Iskra lives and breathes and spreads to all of her followers. This strong supportive base she provides on her Instagram and other social media platforms gives her followers a safe space. She encourages everyone to not only accept their body, but love it. Social media tends to be a place where people tear each other down, but having public figures like Iskra be so supportive truly adds a new, shining light to the darkness of social media. Through her social media, Iskra has built a positive community and is a true representation of how if we spread love instead of hate, the world can be a much better place.

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