Beauty is just one requirement to be a successful model. It is a career path that should also require a healthy dose of confidence and self-love.
Model Iskra Lawrence learned the hard way that this doesn't always come easily.
"I have been told hundreds of times I am too curvy and I would never make it," said the British-born beauty. "I started at 13, and I was comparing myself to other models. As soon as I started celebrating the things that made me unique, I became more confident."
Lawrence was recently named the new #AerieREAL Role Model -- an effort on the part of the retailer to promote body confidence and acceptance through un-retouched advertising campaigns.
With 1M Instagram followers and Runway Riot -- a lifestyle site for women of all sizes which Lawrence created -- the model spreads her message worldwide.
Lawrence is visiting Atlanta, Monday, February 29 and Tuesday, March 1 to kick-off the first ever Aerie pop-up shop tour on the campus of Emory University.
The event will feature the 2016 spring collection and Lawrence will chat with fans and help them get a spring break look that makes them feel confident.
“Iskra embodies our mantra of challenging conventional standards through her unique beauty and vibrant personality,” said Aerie Global Brand President, Jennifer Foyle in a statement. “We are thrilled to bring her to the forefront of our campaigns.”
Lawrence too was thrilled to be named an Aerie Real Role model.
"It was a huge moment for me," she said particularly given all she had been through in her career as a model. "The journey I went through as a teenager -- I wasn’t happy with my body because I was trying to achieve something I never could."
Continuing her efforts to spread a message of self-love, Lawrence pitched the idea for Runway Riot to NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) and ultimately became an advocate for the organization.
Body confidence, she said, is having a moment thanks in part to social media.
"Now we all have a voice," she said. "I am very relatable and I have a connection with young girls. They want to see a girl they can relate to. It is a nicer way to advertise."
Lawrence knows how damaging it can be to set unrealistic goals for your body.
"To go from a (size) US 4 to (size) US 12 and be happy and healthy? I would have never believed that if someone had told me that, but my body is strong and I am happier than ever," she said.
You can meet model Iskra Lawrence and shop the Aerie 2016 Spring collection at the pop up shop, which takes place from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday, Feb. 29 & Tues., March 1 at Emory University, 605 Asbury Circle ("The Circle").
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.