The body-positive activist opened up about the experience in the first episode of her new YouTube channel: All In with Iskra.

By Faith Brar
September 27, 2019
Craig Barritt/Stringer/Getty Images

We all know Iskra Lawrence as a strong, unapologetic, body-positive icon who's hell-bent on changing society's perception of beauty—but her confidence didn't come overnight.

From the day she entered the modeling world at just 12 years old, Lawrence has constantly been reminded of her so-called flaws. That's why, in the first episode of her new YouTube channel, All In with Iskra, the #AerieReal Role Model decided to open up about some of the "imperfections" that she's learned to love. Her goal? To encourage her viewers to do the same.

As the name of her channel suggests, the first segment of Lawrence's YouTube channel is as raw and authentic as you'd expect. The 11-minute video starts with Lawrence confessing to something major—something she's not proud of. "I did a full-on commercial on TV for a diet pill," she said. "I was actually the chubby, fat bride that needed to lose 5 pounds to fit into my wedding dress."

Turns out, that wasn't the part Lawrence actually auditioned for. "I auditioned for the girl 'after'…the girl in the red bikini, slow-mo jogging down the beach," she said.

But because Lawrence wasn't what most modeling agencies consider "straight-sized," she was cast as the woman desperate to lose weight. Understandably, she was disappointed.

"I was already in a really negative place with my body, [so it] definitely did some damage," she said.

But at the time, modeling was just a job for Lawrence. In fact, it was her only source of income and she was already struggling to pay rent and get by, she explained "I think I thought at that point that a model just stood there and didn't really have an impact," she said. "I didn't realize the impact that advertisements had on you." (Related: Iskra Lawrence On Why You Should Look Beyond That Numerical Weight-Loss Goal)

Despite the fact that starring in the commercial "went against everything" Lawrence now stands for, she says the experience taught her an important lesson. "No matter what decisions you've made in the past, you can change. You can evolve, you can grow," she shared.

Today, Lawrence understands that the notion behind the use of diet pills and teas, as well as heavily Photoshopped ads,  played a huge part in her developing an eating disorder and struggling with body dysmorphia. "If I went back, today, to that time, there is no way on earth I would ever do that commercial, no matter what money," she said. "I realize how detrimental diet pills can be to your health and your well-being."

Appearing in a diet pill ad wasn't the only confession Lawrence made in her video. She also recalled stealing her parents' credit card when she was 16 to buy a diet tea subscription, hoping it would help her lose weight. "I was so desperate to be thin because I thought that's how I would be happy and successful as a model," she said. (Related: How Iskra Lawrence Is Inspiring Women to Put Their #CelluLIT On Full Display)

As a young girl, she didn't understand the harmful impact diet teas can have on your body. "It can literally mess up your whole internal system," she explained. (Related: The Truth About Diet Tea Cleanses)

Sadly, to this day, several celebrities—including the Kardashians, Cardi B, and Amber Rose—continue to push products like detox teas and diet pills on young, impressionable people who follow them on Instagram. Thankfully, advocates like Jameela Jamil and Lawrence herself have taken bold stands against the promotion of these fad products and have succeeded—so much so that Instagram is changing its guidelines to better regulate the promotion of potentially harmful weight-loss products.

By sharing these very personal stories, Lawrence wants others to know that no matter what you've done in the past, it's possible to learn from your mistakes and grow past them. "All I want is for you to have a healthy relationship with food," she said. "And that doesn't mean dieting, restricting, [or] calorie counting."

Watch Lawrence's entire video below to see how she's inspiring others to embrace themselves as they are and to practice self-love.



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