British model Iskra Lawrence wants women to know their health is about more than their body shape and size.
“Health is about how you feel from the inside out,” says Lawrence, whose self-love campaign has earned her 4 million Instagram followers and a global Role Model gig for Aerie.
“I’m really trying to fight for all women, no matter where they are at in their fitness level, to feel comfortable and safe, and feel like they’re able to make a start, no matter what that looks like,” she says.
Overcoming body issues
Lawrence’s own health journey hasn’t been without challenges. She explains that although she now embraces her body and practices self-care, she’s an eating disorder survivor who once struggled with body dysmorphia, a mental illness that causes individuals to obsess over nonexistent physical flaws.
“People might think, ‘You’re a model, how could you have body image issues?’” she acknowledges. “But regardless of what you look like, if you feel unworthy and not good enough, and you train yourself to think that when you look in the mirror, it doesn’t matter what you look like … you’re fighting against how you feel about yourself.”
Things changed for Lawrence about six years ago, when, instead of criticizing herself when looking in the mirror, Lawrence began reflecting upon her positive traits, like her ability to be a good friend.
In increasing access to her app, Lawrence hopes she can help more women jump-start their own paths to self-acceptance.
“I know how I feel about myself, I know my self-worth — it’s not based on my size or other people’s opinions of me,” she says. “That’s something everybody can do. They just need to practice it and bring it into their lives.”
Melinda Carter, [email protected]