Iskra Lawrence Interview: Model Prepares To Teach Young People About Body Image And Mental Health

'Your individuality is actually your magic power.'

Iskra Lawrence is the model you need to know about - signed with major agency Models 1, not only is she making a name for herself, she's determined to improve body image in the media.

Along with shooting covers and spreads for magazines like Look and Glamour, Lawrence has recently been trained as a Body Project facilitator - she'll soon be visiting schools to educate young people about mental health and body image.

"I hope to make that into a class that all schools can teach," she told The Huffington Post UK.

A photo posted by 🌙iskra✨ (@iamiskra) on

HuffPost UK caught up with Lawrence to talk all things body image and what she really thinks of the term 'plus size'.

Where does your self-confidence come from?

After years of battling with my body then discovering I couldn’t change and shouldn’t. My confidence comes from the realisation that actually the best you can be is you, learning to accept who I was, what I wanted and that I was more than my body.

What advice would you give to women struggling with their self-esteem?

Stop comparing yourself to others. If you are trying to achieve the ‘perfect body’ or aspiring to be like someone else you are only going to feel like you failed.

Instead what you should be doing is cultivating your individuality - that is actually your magic power, because no one else can ever be you.

What's the best advice you've ever been given?

There's no such thing as failure, the worst thing you can do is not make a decision or try. My Dad always has the best advice!

A photo posted by 🌙iskra✨ (@iamiskra) on

Do you like the term 'plus size', or think we should scrap it?

I don’t like labels full stop, and yes I would drop the plus. I did not label myself plus size the fashion industry did.

By calling me plus at a UK 14 you automatically label 50% of women. And the label has a negative connotation because if you are those larger sizes you still cannot shop at some stores or wear certain designers.

For too long women wearing larger sizes have been excluded from fashion, that’s why I started to create a place where there are no labels and we are all celebrated.

What would you like to see change in the fashion industry?

To stop defining women by size - this only encourages society to feel defined by their size. I would get rid of labels and treat everyone equally. Im excited to see more brands using a diverse range of models and I hope that continues.

I recently spoke at Harvard and met a sweatshop worker from Bangladesh, she opened my eyes to the terrible working conditions that she campaigns to improve, so I would love to see brands investing in looking after their workers.

A photo posted by 🌙iskra✨ (@iamiskra) on

What's one of the biggest misconceptions about plus size models?

That they aren’t healthy. Health is not a certain size or look. I am healthier and happier now at a UK 14, than I was at a UK 8.

You recently posted an incredible response to body-shamers on Instagram - tell us a bit more about what made you decide to stand up to them?

Body shaming and bullying online is never ok. If you haven’t found yourself yet, mentally and physically those comments can hurt. We are a society that seeks approval from others - especially with the new pressures from social media of having followers and getting likes.

I personally believe we need to educate the victim and the bully. By teaching them to love themselves the bully is less likely to put their insecurities onto another and the victim can feel confident in who they are, not letting anyone bring them down.

I stood up for myself to make an example for those who look up to me. To show them that you can make something positive out of something negative and that the best way to deal with body shaming is to laugh it off and not let it get to you.

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