Iskra Lawrence: A Model Representing American Women

We have known life with media and technology unlike any past generation. Social media has impacted us significantly more than our parents and grandparents. The modeling industry is within the reach of our fingertips through Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. Their role and the images they perpetuate are prominent in our lives. These models gained our attention during the most formative period in our lives: from child to teenager. Naturally, the celebrities we idolize from early on inspire how we should look from middle school — all the way to our college years and on.

Today, #AerieREAL campaign for American Eagle acts as a great example for making a positive impact on young women of all shapes, sizes, and colors. They emphasize that their brand is filled with strong women who are confident in their natural bodies and most importantly, aren't retouched! This campaign is one of the first of its kind for a generation who is greatly impacted by the media’s interpretations of perfection.

One of the campaign’s biggest influencers is Iskra Lawrence, a model whose figure more accurately represents the majority of the nation. Hint, she isn't a size 0 or 00. As reported by The University of Texas at Austin University Health Services, “The average American woman is 5 feet 4 inches and weighs about 140 pounds. The average clothing size for women in the U.S. is between a 12-14.” Lawrence is a model for the body that is true to size to the average American woman. She empowers women to not strive for what is unachievable, but strive for what you are able to overcome in your own body. In an interview with, The Independent, Iskra mentions that as a young teenager in the modeling industry, she felt as though that the more editors Photoshopped her body to smooth her skin, add thigh gaps, and shine her teeth, the less likely she felt that she came across as a realistic person whom others would be able to connect with. It didn't sit correctly to Lawrence. She used this confusion to embark on a journey in the modeling industry for those who wanted to break the norms. Lawrence used her platform and following for the better in order to create cohesion between how she really looked and how everyone saw her. Lawrence made real, “mainstream."

Iskra Lawrence is a great role model for regularly-sized girls like myself and the majority of American girls my age. But I still have an issue with the stigma and verbiage; Iskra Lawrence and other models like her are not plus-sized models. Plus-sized takes the definition of being size 8 and up which is an average size across many different standards in the United States. The greatest frustration that I have for the term is the truth that it is far from, as stated earlier, the average size of women in the United States. Not plus, average. Let’s use our time as influential Collegiettes who have a voice and power on social media to bring awareness to the fact that there is no such thing as a plus-sized model. There are models that are skinnier and taller than the average woman, but they are usually seen on high-end runways. We aren't the outcasts for not fitting into that standard. Every model is unique to his or her own person, there is no right body size, big or small, that makes you more or less of a model. Release the burden of the signage of plus-sized and we may actually see little girls proud of the women that they look up to who look just like themselves. 

Images: 1, 2, 3