Iskra Lawrence Refuses To Use Photoshop – And This Is Why

You may recognise her from her highly popular Instagram, or the abundance of modelling campaigns she’s done for American Eagle, L’Oréal and Marina Rinaldi. But Iskra Lawrence isn’t just a model – she’s using her highly influential platform to tackle issues regarding body image, self esteem and the kind of curated realities we’ve come to expect from platforms like Instagram.

‘I’ve seen people on the subway intuitively photoshopping pictures, going through doing what they normally do to photos,’ says Lawrence. ‘I know for some people it’s just an assumption that for the photo to be good enough for Instagram it has to have smoothed out skin an be heavily made up, but having been photoshopped by the fashion industry for so long the last thing I want to do now is take time out of my day to photoshop myself.’

Signed to renowned model agency Storm (the agency which previously represented Kate Moss) when she was only 13 years old, Lawrence was dropped just three years later after being criticized for her size. At age 15, her hips were 2.5 inches wider than an industry ideal of 34, making her a size 10 surrounded by size six teens. Also considered too small to be a ‘plus-size’ model, she was left out in the cold, with the constant picking apart of her body leaving her self-esteem in pieces, and ultimately resulting in an eating disorder.

Now, at age 28, signed to both Models 1 and JAG Models, a global ambassador for various huge fashion and beauty brands, Lawrence is one of the world’s most successful models. This success has come not only from her hard work, but also her determination to celebrate her natural size and carve out her own space in an industry that holds women to impossible standards of beauty – largely centered around being as thin as possible.

Her strong, outspoken stance on everything from detox teas to photoshop (she refuses to alter photographs of herself) has amassed a huge following of over 4.4 million on Instagram alone. And with that power, she’s keen to help people realise their own self-worth.

It’s why she has signed on to become a The Princes Trust mentor with L’Oréal’s Worth It programme, a charity that aims to inspire confidence in young people to help them get employment. As part of that, she has recently launched her own lipstick as a fundraising venture; a limited-edition nude that is a combination of her own personal favourite shades (642 and 908). A portion of the sales of the lipstick, of course, go to the Prince’s Trust.

Iskra’s perfect nude lipstick with L’Oréal

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  • L’Oréal

Gallery View Gallery 1 photos 1 of 1 CREDIT: L’Oréal buy

Her work with the charity goes beyond being the face of their lipstick, however, because as a mentor on the programme, she also gets to host workshops with the young people she hopes to inspire. ‘I’ve done three different locations so far, and multiple mentoring sessions at L’Oréal HQ,’ she says, ‘They bring in washing machines, dishwashers, fridges full of food and they don’t judge people if they’re on the street, need to come in to wash their clothes or haven’t been able to eat in a few days – people who didn’t fit into the education system who maybe had learning difficulties or ADHD.’

‘It’s four young people to one mentor so it can be super hands on,’ she says. ‘Having a social media following really helps engage the young people and they’re very interested in what I do and so for me that’s a great way to keep them engaged but then talk about other things like mental health, body confidence and self-image. It all feeds into them becoming more confident, which really is the most important first step.’

For Lawrence, instilling self-belief in people that have spent almost their entire lives filled with doubt is essential. ‘You can see the change in them even after just one day of the workshop,’ she says. ‘People are putting their hands up and contributing, they feel safe and accepted and that enables them to feel worthy and be able to contribute. It sounds small but it’s really not, even one day on a programme like that can be lifechanging for someone.’

Talking to Lawrence, it’s clear that her activism goes beyond promoting the right messaging online. She’s out in the world having the conversations that need to be had, taking an active step in creating the change that could’ve prevented her own self-worth issues developing as a teen. In fact, for someone who has become so successful online, she’s actually offline more than she’s on.

‘People will be quite surprised how little of my life is spent online. I always make sure I’m spending more time creating than I am consuming. My theory is if I’m spending more time consuming then I’m not actually putting in time and effort into my own career goals and dreams or hobbies or my personal life, so I always try and keep that balanced.’

It’s not her only social media rule. Along with rejecting using photoshop, she refuses to have scheduled times to post, and she doesn’t put restrictions on what she can and can’t put online. Considering her social media is a business, with that comes a certain amount of risk. Because, in an industry that is so often authenticity-averse, going against the status-quo has the potential to leave you out in the cold.

‘Almost every image you saw growing up and to now was probably heavily photoshopped. And now on social media, the posts we see the most are created by celebrities or social media stars and they don’t have realistic lifestyles. We’re looking at the 1 per cent, while 99 per cent of people are going to be getting up for work, getting on the bus, working and then coming home…’

While Lawrence is aware she can feed into the problem as a swimwear model – posting pictures in beautiful locations, for example – she endeavours to educate people that it isn’t real life. She also wants to question the purpose of an image – if you’re taking pictures with a filter on your face or if you’re using Photoshop to retouch photos before uploading them, who are you doing that for?

‘If you know in real life that you’re good enough then who are you trying to impress online and why would you want to impress those people anyway? Who are you surrounding yourself with? Are they positive influences? Because people should be valuing you for who you are not just how perfected your selfies are.’

It’s a valid concern giving the growth of small cosmetic procedures and the rise of Snapchat dysmorphia – both of which have contributed to the new requirement for mental health testing before non-invasive cosmetic enhancements, introduced by the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) last month. There’s no denying that if you only seeing your face through a filter on your phone, or constantly slim and smooth your body on photoshop apps, you’re likely perpetuating your insecurities and ultimately diminishing your confidence.

For Lawrence, it’s seeing these things from people who have similarly huge platforms that is disappointing. Earlier this year, she uploaded an Instagram post slamming detox tea, and she often creates content to show before and after edited pictures – shining a spotlight on just how false a lot of online content is.

But as influential celebrities like the Kardashians continue to use social media in order to advertise slimming products, does she ever feel like she’s fighting a losing battle?

‘It’s really disappointing when you get big setbacks,’ she says. ‘When you see huge celebs doing detox tea and you think “really, still?” or things like the rise of small cosmetic surgeries. You think “ah I really thought I was getting to people”, so it definitely can be exhausting.’

‘But it’s a privilege for me to be in a space where I can give my time to help other people and I wish that there were more people in the public eye who realise there’s so much work to be done.’

Alas, despite the setbacks, she does think there’s a change happening on social media – largely due to the fact we are connected to more people than ever before. ‘I think we are moving forward because the mass now have a voice,’ she says. ‘We’re able to see more diversity online and its making everybody more aware. If we can all just keep doing that, accepting and connecting online then the world will just keep moving forward.’

To find out more information about the Prince’s Trust,

You can purchase Iskra Lawrence’s limited edition lipstick with L’Oréal here.

Born Name

Iskra Arabella Lawrence

Nick Name

Sparky

Iskra Lawrence in bikini on Miami Beach in July 2016

Sun Sign

Virgo

Born Place

Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England, U.K.

Nationality

Education

Lawrence went to Bromsgrove School in Worcestershire.

Occupation

Model

Family

  • Father – Doug Lawrence
  • Mother – Unknown
  • Siblings – Unknown

Manager

The model is signed with these agencies –

  • JAG Models – New York
  • Models1 – Europe

Build

Voluptuous

Height

5 ft 9 in or 175 cm

Weight

88 kg or 194 pounds

Boyfriend / Spouse

She has a boyfriend.

Iskra Lawrence for Self Magazine’s January / February 2017 issue

Race / Ethnicity

White

Her dad is British and mom from Northern Ireland.

Hair Color

Blonde

Eye Color

Blue

Sexual Orientation

Straight

Distinctive Features

Curvaceous figure

Measurements

38-29-44 in or 96.5-74-112 cm

Iskra Lawrence at Glamour Women of the Year 2016

Dress Size

14 (US) or 46 (EU)

Bra Size

34D

Shoe Size

9 (US) or 39.5 (EU)

Brand Endorsements

Iskra has done modeling for American Eagle Outfitters lingerie line, Aerie.

Lawrence has been seen in Icelandic Glacial advert.

She has served as the ambassador for National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).

Religion

Her religious beliefs are not known.

Best Known For

Being one of the famous plus-size models.

First Film

She has not appeared in a theatrical film yet.

First TV Show

Iskra guest appeared in comedy-drama show Misfits as a cheerleader in episode #3.7 in 2011.

Personal Trainer

She does go the gym to exercise and keep herself in shape. See her Instagram workout video below –

✨? real time clip of me in the gym yesterday doing some 10kg weighted #boxjumps as this was the highest height avail so to challenge myself I added the Kettlebell. This is one of my fave ways to warm up 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps ? #iskralawrence #everyBODYisbeautiful ✨? @davidlloydleisure

A video posted by Iskra lawrence?✨ (@iskra) on May 9, 2016 at 4:36am PDT

A video posted by Iskra lawrence?✨ (@iskra) on Nov 11, 2015 at 7:21am PST

But, her diet doesn’t contain any calorie-counting. Iskra eats whatever she feels like. To prepare for New York Fashion Week in September 2016, she was eating nothing special. In her own words –

“I still eat the same things, I was eating donuts yesterday. I can’t stop that, that’s me.”

Iskra Lawrence Favorite Things

  • Body Part – Feet
  • City Restaurant – Tao
  • New York City Place – 1OAK
Source – Independent, AllDayEveryDay.com

Iskra Lawrence in bikini on Miami Beach in July 2016

Iskra Lawrence Facts

  1. Iskra has served as a columnist to the Self magazine.
  2. Lawrence was included in the BBC’s 100 Women list in 2016.
  3. At the age of 6 weeks, she relocated to Kidderminster, Worcestershire from Wolverhampton within England.
  4. Iskra was a national level swimmer in school.
  5. At 15, she was approved to join National Youth Theatre in UK.
  6. She is the creator of NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) Inspires Award.
  7. Iskra has also founded a women glamour based website Runway Riot for which she has served as the managing editor.
  8. Her first name means “Spark” in Bulgarian.
  9. Her all Instagram pics are uploaded as it is without using any Photoshop effects.
  10. She has served as a guest author for prestigious publications Time and Huffington Post.
  11. Iskra walked in her first ever New York Fashion Week for Chromat for their Spring 2017 collection.
  12. She has webbed feet.
  13. She knows cooking and good at cooking jerk chicken with rice, peas, and coconut corn.
  14. She wants to Greek hero Hercules.
  15. Visit her official website @ iskralawrence.com.
  16. Catch Iskra on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Vk.com.

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Iskra Lawrence is a British plus-size model. She’s represented by Models 1 and JAG Models for modeling work and United Talent Agency for entertainment and talent. She is a Brand Ambassador for the National Eating Disorders Association and is the managing editor for the website Runway Riot. She was named as a brand ambassador for Marina Rinaldi’s Persona collection campaign in 2018. Born Iskra Arabella Lawrence on September 11, 1990 in Worcestershire, England, UK, to a Northern Irish mother and an English father, she was raised in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, England. She was educated at Malvern St James and Bromsgrove School in Worcestershire. Lawrence started her modeling career in her early teenage years.

Iskra Lawrence

Iskra Lawrence Personal Details:
Date Of Birth: 11 September 1990
Birth Place: Worcestershire, England, United Kingdom
Birth Name: Iskra Arabella Lawrence
Nickname: Sparky
Zodiac Sign: Virgo
Occupation: Model
Nationality: British
Race/Ethnicity: White
Religion: Unknown
Hair Color: Blonde
Eye Color: Blue
Sexual Orientation: Straight

Iskra Lawrence Family Details:
Father: Doug Lawrence
Mother: Unknown
Spouse/Husband: Unmarried
Children: No
Siblings: Unknown

Iskra Lawrence Education:
Malvern St James
Bromsgrove School, Worcestershire

Iskra Lawrence Facts:
*She was born on September 11, 1990 in Worcestershire, England, UK.
*She was a competitive national swimmer in her teenage years.
*At age 15, she was accepted into the UK National Youth Theatre.
*She was named in the BBC’s 100 Women list in 2016.
*She was listed was in the Forbes 30 Under 30 for Europe within the Art & Culture category in 2019.
*Visit her official website: www.iskralawrence.com
*Follow her on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Facebook and Instagram.

As we try to understand more about health and our bodies, people are learning that lighter, thinner, skinner, doesn’t always equate to wellbeing.

Model and self-care advocate Iskra Lawrence is one person in the public eye who’s working hard to get this message across.

Recently she posted a snap to her Instagram for ‘Transformation Tuesday’.

These images normally show someone’s fitness or weight loss journey, taking them from overweight to healthy.

While we love the huge investment people are putting into their fitness regime, sometimes a transformation to become smaller isn’t necessarily healthier.

Iska showed an photograph from a past shoot, six years ago, in which she was three dress sizes smaller, ‘perfected’, but far from ‘well’.

She captioned the post: “I wanted to share this pic because my transformation was so much more than weight & muscle gain. I went through a mental transformation too.

“People may assume that the pic on the right where I’m 3 dress sizes smaller that I was healthier. Because we are conditioned to believe it’s a compliment when someone has lost weight or it’s everyone’s desire to “lose a few lbs”.

“However I was obsessed to an unhealthy extreme and as you can see the image is HIGHLY photoshopped and all those years ago that’s what I wanted. I thought the skinner I was the more “perfected” I was I’d be happier and a more successful model.

“Letting go of that pursuit of perfection was the best thing I ever did. And instead of wanting to change my body I started working on being the best version of myself from the inside out and that made me happier and more confident.

“Everyone’s transformations look different and that’s such a beautiful thing. Just always do it for YOU, and know YOU are good enough and worthy of feeling happy, healthy and confident. Look after yourself, practise self-care and let the real you shine.”

Love Iskra? Catch up with some of the things she told us when she was Naked!

Francesca Menato Social Media Editor Ces is the resident runner, with 3 marathons (and counting) under her belt.

Lawrence model plus size

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