Model Iskra Lawrence won't let photographers edit her postpartum body, saying the 'airbrushed illusion' feeds toxic beauty culture
- Iskra Lawrence said she struggled with disordered eating as a young woman due to modeling industry pressure.
- Now, the new mom doesn't allow her photos to be edited, and uses daily affirmations to stay positive.
- Lawrence is working to accept her body is different than before pregnancy.
Model Iskra Lawrence told Insider that being photoshopped in her early modeling career damaged her self-esteem, and she's now encouraging people to stop using photo editing apps.
Lawrence, 30, said having her body digitally manipulated by photographers in her younger years made her feel "terrible" about how she really looked, and the pressures of the industry led her to develop disordered eating habits.
A mother to a one-year-old and current Activia brand partner championing self-care, Lawrence said she's recently been on a journey to accept her postpartum body, and uses postive affirmations to guide her way.
Lawrence refuses to let photographers edit her body
The British model told Insider that photo editing affected her in two ways: She idolized other women's bodies, unaware they had been edited, and scrutinized her own body because it was photoshopped for campaigns and shoots.
She has spoken openly about recovering from disordered eating, and now doesn't allow her body to be edited.
"Just don't feed into this toxic beauty culture that tells women that we have to be this airbrushed illusion that is completely unrealistic even to the model in the photo," she said.
Lawrence believes easy access to edit apps on phones makes the illusion of perfection more pervasive on social media.
"There's potentially 200 photos that have been taken and the best one's been picked, and then it's been fiddled with for an hour and there's so much more around each photo than it seems," she said. "I just hope that by leading by example, I can encourage more people to know they don't have to [edit their photos]."
Daily affirmations helped Lawrence love her body
While in recovery from disordered eating nine years ago, Lawrence started saying affirmations in the mirror, and it helped her learn to love her body.
"You are deserving of getting in front of that mirror, giving yourself eye contact, and giving yourself that boost every single day," she said. "Why not wake up and challenge that negative feeling?"
She believes one of the reasons saying affirmations in the mirror is so powerful is because we so rarely make eye contact with ourselves.
"If you continually tell yourself those things, you get to the point where it's like, 'Why wouldn't I believe that I am amazing, creative, funny, brilliant, confident, strong, all these things?'" she said.
While she now feels good in her body, Lawrence still struggles with accepting her skin, so affirmations help change her negative self-talk.
Becoming a mom changed Lawrence's view of her body
Lawrence said she felt "completely in control" of her body before she got pregnant, "which can be a healthy and unhealthy thing."
"I felt like I really knew my body," she said. "I knew the ways that I could move it or the certain kind of exercise that had certain results, I just had a really good grasp on where I was at physically and what my body's capabilities were."
While pregnant, Lawrence was "in awe" of her body and she felt like a "goddess."
After giving birth, the model felt the same pressure many women do for her body to "snap back," but she decided to get to know her body as a mom, taking her time to see what exercises she could and couldn't do.
"It's a completely brand new body and it has different capabilities," Lawrence said. "I haven't got as much muscle mass, it's more turned to soft fat, which is all fine, but it's all different."
It can be hard to love your body when you no longer recognize it, Lawrence said, so she thinks it's key that moms accept that their bodies have changed.
"You are still yourself, but you're a new version," she said.
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