Iskra Lawrence is frequently praised for her messages of self love, candid approach to the fashion industry and body-positive messages, so it's hard to think that there was ever a time that she struggled with self-confidence, a fight that followed with body dysmorphia and an eating disorder.
The British beauty, who announced just this week that she's pregnant with her first child, opened up in an exclusive interview with AOL about her rocky journey to body acceptance and how she feels about her pregnancy body.
"So, I have to admit this pregnancy bod is really sexy. I really do feel really good...like, really, really good. I knew that my body was very special and it had a purpose. It hits home. It's like, goodness, this body is incredible," she maintained.
For Lawrence, the journey to loving her body is evident in far more than just her pregnancy announcement -- it's a mindset that's become ingrained in Lawrence's daily life, from each Instagram post to the designers she chooses to work with. "The importance of body acceptance to me, as someone who's struggled with body dysmorphia and an eating disorder...when you've been through that, all you want to do is try and make sure no one else does," she revealed.
"Because we're in a society where so many women are held back from chasing their dreams, having their dream job, getting into healthy relationships...it all stems from this societal perfection that has been created where, for women, our whole value system is based on our appearance."
Given her platform of over 4.5 million Instagram followers and nearly 200,000 Youtube subscribers, the Aerie model is striving to change the discourse on how these issues are addressed. "For me as a model, I really wanted to be a part of changing that, or at least showing that there was a different value system for us."
The 29-year-old also called out the lack of diversity and representation in the fashion industry, calling on industry leaders to rewrite how consumers should feel.
"You kind of have to open your eyes and look around and see that, actually, women who are wearing your clothes or want to wear your clothes are diverse," she maintained. "It shouldn't just be fast fashion brands. You know, it has to be high-end designers who care about the cut and the fit and the quality of clothing, because everyone deserves that...no matter what size you are."
"I have forgotten all the rules that I once thought I had to stick to because of my body shape and size and I now literally just see something and if I feel like it's part of me, I'll wear it," Lawrence continued, while commending designers like Tanya Taylor, who dressed the model for the annual CFDA Vogue Fashion Awards on Monday, for already paving the way for industry change. "I've known of Tanya's work for the longest time, I've seen her beautiful prints and designs. Then it wasn't until we actually got to finally connect in person at New York Fashion Week...it was literally, like, an explosion of fun and celebration and joy of women."
Taylor's partnership with outspoken Iskra showcases firsthand the importance of representation and the alignment of both of their values. "She uses her platform for positivity. She's really confident and vocal and very outspoken about body acceptance. and that's something our brand is really passionate about," Taylor said.