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Gina Florio
December 20, 2016 2:09 pm

The rapidly growing body-positivity movement has been led by some of the most incredible women — women we simply can’t take our eyes off of. Iskra Lawrence, model, body activist, and the face of the AerieReal campaign, is there at the front lines every chance she can get. Iskra has made it loud and clear that she’s not cool with all the photoshopping that goes on in the modeling world.

She’s a contributor for SELF (and their January cover girl!) and a founder of Runway Riot, where she constantly encourages women to embrace the bodies they woke up with that morning. Not to mention, she’s got nearly three million followers on Instagram. People are soaking up everything she has to say about the true meaning of self-acceptance.

Although she’s impossibly gorgeous and confident AF these days, Iskra grew up harboring a lot of insecurities. She struggled to accept her body exactly the way it was, and she used to think certain parts of her physique needed to be hidden. Iskra sat down with SELF magazine and chatted about what it was like growing up with her uniquely curvy body.

Iskra says it was a “daily battle of being consumed by this drive to just want to change my body.” She was told by family members and friends that her calves were too big, so she got it in her head that she had to cover them up and wasn’t supposed to wear certain types of boots. 

“Who decides what is and isn’t a flaw is quite fascinating to me,” Iskra says.

Her body developed a lot earlier than those of the girls’ in her class, so she was curvy at a younger age. “I remember getting to a point when I was so much more womanly than all the other girls in my class,” she says, and she felt out of place. 

It took a lot of time for Iskra to appreciate her body. She says it “takes time to know what your body wants and needs and responds to,” but it’s all about connecting your mind to your physical body. That’s where true happiness lies. 

“I love that my body is all mine,” Iskra gushes.

“I don’t want these girls to feel what I did when I was growing up,” Iskra says. “I just really want them to love themselves and be happy and realize they don’t need to fight who they are.” 

Iskra has collaborated with SELF to create a fitness challenge that starts in January. Anyone can sign up. If there’s anyone we would want to workout with, eat with, and generally just hang out with, it’d be Iskra. Because, damn, is she inspiring.

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