Model Iskra Lawrence on Wearing a Bikini: ‘Just Push Yourself’

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Iskra Lawrence has always been known as a body positivity advocate. And now she’s giving Us Weekly her no-fail advice for achieving complete body confidence — even in a bikini!

“It’s such a public thing,” the #AerieReal Role Model tells Us of stepping out onto the beach in a bathing suit. “What’s funny is, you feel like all the eyes are going to be on you. But the thing I always tell people to remember is, everyone is feeling that way.”

And Lawrence, 28, means everyone. “Every single person — men as well when they go on the beach — they’re feeling self conscious, they’re worried about how they’re looking compared to everyone else. You’re not in that alone,” she says.

The key, she adds, may be elusive, but it’s simple: Enjoy yourself. “You’re there to have fun,” continues the star. “By having those insecurities, it’s just holding you back from living life and having a great time. Always encourage people to keep that in their minds. It’s just being more comfortable with it. The more times you can just push yourself or challenge yourself to be able to wear a two-piece, the better. Because some people aren’t there yet and that’s absolutely fine.”

She would know. Though Lawrence is confident with her curves and has body acceptance now, she suffered from body dysmorphia as a teen: “I really had to go on a journey of self discovery and realize all of the other incredible things about me, as a human. What does Iskra stand for?,” she says. “What can she bring to the table? And how she is she a good friend and good daughter?”

By the time Lawrence joined Aerie’s women empowerment movement in 2016, she had found both her body love and her voice, frequently posting about body image on her Instagram page. This year’s Aerie campaign features a new class of advocates: Busy Philipps, actress Samira Wiley, activist Jameela Jamil (who recently called out Khloé Kardashian on her diet attitude), para snowboarder Brenna Huckaby and YouTube star Molly Burke. Meanwhile, Aly Raisman, Jenna Kutcher and Cleo Wade also return.

Scroll through to see photos of Lawrence living what she preaches — celebrating her body every day — and read the tips that’ll have you loving what you see in the mirror too.

Model Iskra Lawrence on Wearing a Bikini: ‘Just Push Yourself’
Know Your Body Is Perfect

Acceptance “is all in your mindset and for me, it’s realizing that my body is my home so there can’t be anything wrong with,” Lawrence tells Us. “It’s mine and it was made in this way. Just got to be grateful for it.”

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Model Iskra Lawrence on Wearing a Bikini: ‘Just Push Yourself’
Find Your True Self-Worth

In her early modeling days, Lawrence was told she was too large to be a model and too small to be a plus-sized model. “My self-worth was tied up with size for a very long time,” she says. Eventually, she notes, “the scales kind of turned, and I was like, ‘OK, no. My self-worth should actually be about who I am and what I can bring, not just what it’s like in my size.'”

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Model Iskra Lawrence on Wearing a Bikini: ‘Just Push Yourself’
Be Vocal to Help Others

Once you’ve learned to love yourself, Lawrence finds it’s important to pass the feeling on. “Share that amazing feeling, share that empowerment, share that self love,” she advises.

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Model Iskra Lawrence on Wearing a Bikini: ‘Just Push Yourself’
Embrace Confidence

“When you learn to love yourself, I feel like you look so great in a two-piece. You look so great in photos and videos,” she says of one of the payoffs of confidence. “Your body’s obviously amazing, but your confidence really shines through.”

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Model Iskra Lawrence on Wearing a Bikini: ‘Just Push Yourself’
Eat for Nutrition

The model was able to retrain her brain when it came to food. “Instead of being obsessed about calories and writing down every single thing I ate and every single nutrition thing I would find on packaging, I thought, Why don’t I spend time learning how to cook, and enjoying food and trying new things?”

 

Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for IMG

Model Iskra Lawrence on Wearing a Bikini: ‘Just Push Yourself’
Exercise for Health

Lawrence developed a similar loving strategy with fitness. “Instead of just spending time running on the treadmill and hoping that I can burn more calories than I was eating, I invested time into figuring out how I could improve my strength or my flexibility, or try something new and move my body and enjoy a fitness class instead of punishing myself.”

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Model Iskra Lawrence on Wearing a Bikini: ‘Just Push Yourself’
Avoid Retouching

The star always wanted her modeling shots Photoshopped — until she realized it was hurting her mental health. “I actually found that comparing myself to highly edited pictures had really damaged my self esteem,” she tells Us. And she eventually realized it wasn’t just detrimental to her own well being, but to other young women’s as well.

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Model Iskra Lawrence on Wearing a Bikini: ‘Just Push Yourself’
Accept Compliments

“Take it in when someone gives you a compliment and cherish it and hold onto it,” she says. “Realize that that’s really nice and we can also be talking to ourselves in a really loving way. You wouldn’t talk to your best friend like you would talk to yourself in the mirror, it’s not OK.”

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