Iskra Lawrence Has The Best Tricks For Feeling Confident, Even On Your Off Days
There are plenty of days when Iskra Lawrence wakes up and doesn't want to be, well, Iskra Lawrence.
The English model has built her name off body confidence and positivity, but there are days when even she struggles with loving herself.
Here's where Lawrence's philosophy splits from the average person's, however: Instead of giving in to the negativity, Lawrence, 26, launches into her good-vibes-only plan of attack.
And, frankly, she's flattered anyone asks her about it.
"It was an amazing feeling, me learning to love myself. But now being able to let other people know they're good enough — it's the best feeling in the world,” she tells Elite Daily.
Sitting backstage at a body positivity event for Refinery29's 67 Percent Project, the surprisingly tall Lawrence — who just delivered the keynote address — explains it's been a long road toward positivity.
As first a straight-size model and then a plus-size model, she battled eating disorders and heavily retouched images. Then, she took a step back from the industry to regain perspective.
“The catalyst was having tried to change my body to try and be a straight-size model since the age of 13,” Lawrence explains. "I then went to a plus-size agency who said I was 'too small.' I was like, something has to change because that's not right. It can't be one or the other."
When she was announced as the face of AerieREAL's un-retouched lingerie campaign in the winter of 2016, Lawrence's follower count exploded on Instagram. And her message only grew in reach and depth.
So, what does a model with 2.6 million Instagram followers and a national ad campaign do when she wakes up on the wrong side of the bed?
Without a moment of hesitation, Lawrence launches into a laundry list.
"Put on good music. Dance. Watch a funny video,” she says. "I put Post-it notes on my mirror or on the back of my door, even. The ones on my mirror are like, 'You look beautiful today!' or 'Don't worry about the fact that you've got a breakout.'"
She recommends approaching your day with positivity, then noting all the ways others reflect those good vibes back to you. Start with a smile at your co-worker. From there, Lawrence says it's all about "doing the things you love — patting a dog. Getting a hug. Food."
Unlike many of us, Lawrence doesn't leave that attitude at the door halfway through the day. She's made it a priority to see exercise as a treat, too.
That's right: The gym's stinky, slow treadmill is Lawrence's favorite way to unwind and reward herself. But, that starts with realistic expectations and goals.
"When I was trying to change my body to look a certain way, I had images of other women that I could never possibly look like because I'm not them. My body shape just isn't that,” she explains, emphasizing it's important not to set yourself up to feel like you're a failure.
Instead, lift weights in new ways today. Run an extra mile. Do something you can actually do, and feel good about that. Tomorrow, plan a new goal.
“I can squat 120 pounds now, but obviously at the beginning I couldn't,” she continues. "I was just practicing sitting on a chair to do the technique right. It was making those little goals for me made me feel great, made me feel empowered."
When she's not at the gym or on a shoot, Lawrence is still trying to get her brain around the impact of her decision to never be retouched. Hundreds of young women reach out every day to tell her their stories, like she's the Mother Teresa of mermaid thighs.
Nostalgically, Lawrence recalls the first handwritten letter she ever received from a fan. She was on vacation with her parents in Puerto Rico, and couldn't believe a fan had trusted her enough to share her whole life story.
"She said I've helped her change her life in a positive way,” Lawrence remembers. "She doesn't have her eating disorder anymore, and I've saved her life. Which is wild. I never imagined I'd be able to try and do that."
She's tangible, and she's here to spread the message of self-love. It's up to you to live it.