British model and influencer Iskra Lawrence opened up about the need to share imperfect images on social media, not just carefully curated ones, in a touching Instagram post this weekend. The 28-year-old Aerie model took the tear-filled picture after an “emotional breakdown,” which she said was brought on by a combination of factors. But rather than gloss over it with a modeling shot, she chose to get honest about her struggle — and urged her followers to do the same.
“I took this pic and wanted to post it because Instagram can be completely unrelatable, overwhelming, triggering and even damaging for our mental health,” Lawrence wrote. “Don’t ever compare your happiness, confidence, body, beauty, relationships, success or life to ANYONE online. Many people are struggling with their own issues privately or publicly and no one has to share online or post things they aren’t comfortable with.”
Lawrence, a native of Wolverhampton, England, has been modeling since age 13 and — as a size 14 — is no stranger to bullying on the internet. This month, the vitriol came in response to a photo she had posted of her eating a burger in the back seat of a car while wearing a bikini. “You need to let go of the fast food and start focusing on your body,” wrote one angry commenter.
Although the Daily Mail speculated that it was Instagram overall that had led to her tears this weekend, Lawrence corrected the newspaper in a story on her account Monday. “Daily Mail this headline is incorrect, I am not criticizing Instagram, I was crying because of something that happened IRL,” she wrote. “I wanted to share how I was feeling because I feel like most people do not share the ‘struggles, vulnerability, or sad moments,’ so I also wanted to challenge myself to post something that I was scared to.”
In the slide below, Lawrence applauded Instagram’s ability to amplify inspirational messages and provide education but said that followers need to work on blocking accounts that “trigger” them or “make you feel something negative.”
At the end of her post, Lawrence asked people to follow her lead and be more open about how they are feeling. “Feel free to post a crying selfie and tag me,” she wrote. “I know I’m not alone, but can’t remember the last time I saw a photo like this on the gram.” After her statement, which has already led to several crying selfies, Lawrence ended with a hashtag — one that seems to capture the message she’s been pushing all along: #itsOKnottobeOK.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
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