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With a spot on the 2019 Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list and over four million followers on Instagram alone, Iskra Lawrence is far from an unfamiliar face. Typically referred to by solely her first name, there’s a reason that this icon has quite literally made a name for herself in the world of modeling and beyond. From shaking the model stereotype one #AerieREAL campaign at a time to curating a supportive, inclusive online community, Iskra has gone from being an aspiring model to the model to follow. Not to mention, she’s also a member of the 2019 L’Oréal League—L’Oréal Paris’ influencer ambassador program. Basically, what we’re trying to say is that she’s definitely someone worth listening to about career, beauty, and life advice. And that's exactly why we’re sharing Iskra’s take on all of the above, and more, below.
Iskra’s journey into the modeling industry was no easy feat. In fact, she says it took 16 years for her to get to where she is now. Through repeated rejection, people publicly size-shaming her, and even being dropped from agencies multiple times, it’s been an anything but glamorous road to the top. How did she finally catch her break? “I think that the main reason I’m still here is persistence, drive, and self-belief,” Iskra shares, “Sometimes, you have to be what you can’t see, because you need to be that representation—even if it doesn’t already exist yet.”
Iskra has been able to shake the stick-thin model stereotype and break her way into the industry by focusing on being unique and different. For anyone looking to break the mold in their own right, she advises to “stay in your own lane—don’t try to follow a path that has already been done.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Body acceptance, body positivity, self-care, and mental health are a few topics that Iskra discusses very openly on her social media platforms. “I’ve been modeling for so long that it just kind of happened that my social media grew and it’s become a platform that I can help inspire others with,” she shares. The model doesn’t retouch the photos that she posts, and she tries to post exactly how she’s feeling, aiming for an overall very unfiltered, inspirational social media presence.
Body positivity is something that hits close to home for Iskra, and it’s something she’s been talking about on public platforms for years—even back when she hardly had a following at all. She says, “Because of what I went through with my own eating disorder and body dysmorphia, it just felt natural when I had the chance to talk about something that I cared about. I had so many people reaching out and saying ‘Wow, thank you so much for sharing this as a model. I never realized that you would be insecure or feel the same way as I do about myself.’”
Iskra continues to share her journey online with her supportive community of followers, realizing the importance of being genuine. She explains, “If you create a false perception, it can be very damaging to your community’s mental health and your own as well, trying to live up to those unrealistic expectations.” Rather than showcasing a perfected highlight reel of her life, for Iskra, it’s all about authenticity.
When you’re browsing through your social media platforms and looking at posts from your icons, it can be easy to forget that they’re only human, just like everyone else. “There’s a lack of humanity in social media—it can be a superficial, shallow place,” Iskra says.
She believes that those who have a larger platform have a responsibility to open up, show that they’re not perfect, and speak for those who may feel invisible or silenced. “You need to use your privilege and your platform to be vocal for the people that can’t be seen and heard. It’s very important,” she explains.
As someone who has made a name for herself in the modeling industry, we can’t think of anyone better to get modeling career guidance from than Iskra. Her biggest piece of advice? Break the rules. “You’re kind of told these strict rules about what height and what size to be and what you have to look like, but the industry has changed so much because of social media,” she explains.
Rather than waiting for an agent or the industry to accept you, Iskra recommends using social media to build your own brand and become a model on your own terms. Her take: “Brands will want you because other people appreciate you, relate to you, and trust your opinion and the choices that you make.”
A typical workday? There is none! Between meetings, interviews, and photoshoots, Iskra can expect at least four flights a week—talk about jetlag! But even with her busy schedule, she makes time for social media and her fans. “I always make sure that I have at least 10 minutes after posting so I can try and comment back to my fans. I always appreciate their love and support,” she shares.
Aside from those initial 10 minutes, she makes time to check back on a post five to 10 times a day. Of course, posts that are conversation starters are a whole different ball game. “When it’s something I’m really passionate about, I’m very interested, reading all the comments and learning from them,” Iskra explains. On those days, she’ll check back around 20 times to make sure she hasn’t missed a comment.
Aside from her typical work schedule, Iskra has also been working on creating her own fashion brand. Focused on affordability, quality, and inclusion, the aim of her brand is to make up for all that is lacking in the fashion industry. She shares, “I’m trying to create a brand where the message is the most important and powerful thing, with the most inclusive messaging and visuals it can have.” (Iskra couldn’t tell us too much more just yet, but you’ll definitely want to stay tuned!)
Let’s talk beauty: Iskra’s number one beauty rule? Less is more! The model believes there’s no need to overcompensate, and swears by the wonders of a touch of concealer. “I use the L’Oréal Full Wear—just a little dab of that, it’s all you need,” she shares. Aside from concealer, Iskra offers up one more beauty tip: the power of brows! “Brushing your brows really does shape your face,” she explains.
It’s no secret that there are so many beauty trends to try—and Iskra has already experimented with the top hair color trend of 2019: silver hair, “I loved doing silver hair, and I also loved doing rose gold last year. Rose gold was probably my favorite, and I get tempted all the time to do it again,” she admits.
Aside from hair color, Iskra is loving all things glowy and dewy when it comes to makeup, as well as peach blushes and peachy tones on the eyes. One trend she won’t be getting on board with? Blue eye makeup. She explains, “I struggle with anything too blue. Since my eyes are blue, I kind of stay away from blue eye shadow and eyeliner.” Instead, her go-to eye makeup hues are browns and coppers.
When it comes to her favorite L’Oréal Paris products, it’s all about the makeup. “I’m obsessed with basically all the mascaras. My favorites are Telescopic, and Lash Paradise for when I want that extra ‘oomph,’” she shares. The L’Oréal Full Wear concealer also makes her list, of course. Beyond that, her love for glowy, dewy skin is also reflected in her top face makeup picks. “I’m obsessed with Glotion—I wear it all over my body as much as I can. If there’s any time I can get my limbs out, that will be on my limbs,” she raves.
Wondering what Iskra’s skin care secrets are? Double cleansing, rose water, and the L’Oréal vitamin C serum are a few musts in her book. When traveling to drier climates like Los Angeles, she tries to load up on moisturizing products and, in the past, has even tried bringing along a travel-sized humidifier to negate dry, flaky skin.
With an essentially nonstop schedule, self-care is a must. Iskra certainly recognizes this, and has found numerous ways to foster her own wellness. Her most important act of self-care? Taking a break from her phone. “A lot of my work is based off phone calls, interviews, social media. I don’t allow my phone to take priority. Unless it’s a life or death situation, it really can wait,” she says.
Taking a break from technology allows Iskra to be in the present, without feeling the pressure to rush about her day. “It’s not a race—it’s really about being intentional and breathing and taking everything in and enjoying it,” she explains.
One thing the model surely knows a thing or two about are the latest fashion trends. Her favorite at the moment is all things bold, bright, and colorful. “I think that it’s really great to see people embracing being bold. I also love that sneakers are now acceptable for anywhere, anytime, and any occasion—you can really dress them up,” she shares.
When not working, you can find Iskra indulging in some extra hours of shut-eye. She also makes sure to take her time at the gym. “When I have time, I don’t like to rush it. I really love going and working out,” she explains. Aside from sleep and exercise, she spends her free time with friends and catching up on her favorite shows like The OA, Game of Thrones, and Big Little Lies.
As a model and advocate for living a healthy lifestyle, Iskra likes to keep things fresh when it comes to fitness. “I try to take different classes whenever I can and combine little things I’ve learned from different trainers or classes in my own workouts,” she says. You can also find her doing Insanity with her boyfriend or keeping herself motivated with HIIT. What doesn’t she look for in a workout? She reveals, “I’m not into shout-y classes…I don’t want to be on the treadmill being shouted at.”
When it comes to date nights, Iskra loves the restaurant Catch in New York. Her go-to order? The crispy shrimp to start, crispy chicken bao buns, mushroom pasta, and truffle fries or the mac and cheese to split. Yum!
Next: L’Oréal Lifestyle: How Witney Carson Danced Her Way to Fame
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