Iskra Lawrence Thinks Plastic Surgery Is OK and Needs a Break From Social Media Sometimes Too341 views
Do people ever body-shame you in real life anymore?
I’m very much a positive person — I put good energy out there — so I don’t feel like anyone would want to do anything nasty to me. However, my friend texted me two nights ago. She said she was at a bar, and she said she overheard people bitching about me. She stepped in, and she said, “I know her! She’s my actual friend! Don’t say those things!” She didn’t ever tell me what they said, but it’s just fascinating. I wouldn’t ever talk about someone that I’d never met. But the more I put myself out there, the more I’m opening myself up to that.
In one of your recent Instagram posts, you wrote you are “still built, not bought.” You make a point of calling out that you’ve never had plastic surgery, but how do you feel about other people getting it?
I never want to shame anyone. I love going to the gym, and I feel proud and fit. That, for me, is aspirational. There are things you can do in a very healthy, natural way. This is how I work with my body to make it the best I can be. That’s the shape that I have, just toned and tight. That’s my preference.
But my mom’s had a nose job, and it’s the best thing she ever did. Her nose broke at school, and so she was always really insecure about the bump she had. The difference since? She’s been able to have photos. She used to sit only on one side of my dad. I’m so proud of her for doing it.
It’s wonderful that people have that opportunity to change their lives if it’s something that affected them. Just making sure you do it for the right reasons and you do it for you — I think that’s the main thing.
Being on social media all the time can get depressing for people — at least it can be for me. Do you ever feel that way?
I definitely have that. I have more commitments in the sense that I have to promote certain Aerie things, or people want me to post about this and that. I want to keep up to date, and I want to make sure people following me don’t think I’ve abandoned them. You have different types of days, and you have those days when you just want to be a hermit and lie in bed and don’t even want to get out of the house, let alone post something online and share it with the world.
There are days when I take a vacation from social media. I did on holiday — I think in three weeks I maybe posted four or five photos, when sometimes I post three in a day. That was a huge break for me. Phones are interesting objects. Sometimes you wish they just didn’t exist.
You’ve talked about the plus-size label in the past and how you don’t think you should be categorized as plus. Would you be offended if you were referred to as a plus-size model now?
Theoretically, I fit into plus-size clothes in some brands, depending on what size they start at. Certainly in Europe, plus-size brands start at a smaller size, some of them in a U.S. 8. I have and still do work for some plus-size brands. The label doesn’t bother me at all. I understand that it’s a categorization within the industry to simplify things, but it’s made people feel that they’ve been automatically labeled if they are over a U.S. 10, say. Some women have been offended by that. It’s a shame. They shouldn’t be offended, really, because it doesn’t matter what you’re labeled, and it doesn’t matter what size you are. There’s such a negative connotation around the word “plus-size,” because, for so long, you couldn’t get plus-size clothing in the same stores [as straight-size clothes]. You would have to go to a basement, or you could only shop online, and the clothes weren’t necessarily as trendy or young and fresh. So it’s seen as lesser, it’s seen as inferior. That’s why people get offended by the label, because they’ve been excluded from fashion.
I went into a store one day, and I was trying on these pink trousers that had no stretch, and they were too tight. I called over the lady, and I asked for the next size up, and she said, “That’s the largest size we have.” That’s just it. I can’t have these cute trousers I wanted. There are women that deal with that every single day. Can you imagine that? It just doesn’t feel right at all.
As much work as you and Aerie have done around spreading the message of confidence and body positivity, there’s more to be done. What signs are you seeing of progress, and what makes you think people still have a ways to go?
The day when we’ve really got to where it needs to be is when we flip through a magazine, and we are not shocked when we see a girl that’s of a different size. There’s a girl that’s a size 2 and a size 8 and a size 14, and that is how we see beautiful, aspirational images. It won’t be shocking for a larger girl to go on the runway. That’s when I feel like we’ll have made it, when it feels organic and natural. I think it’s really happening, and it’s so exciting to see it.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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