How I Became Confident


What does “confidence” mean to you? (Photo:

Iskra Lawrence is a model and the Managing Editor of Runway Riot, a new fashion-focused website that is “dedicated to serving an underrepresented and often overlooked community of curvier women who deserve to have just as many stylish choices as everyone else.”

The most frequent question I get asked on my social media is, “How did you become so confident?” That’s why I decided to focus on confidence and how I’ve incorporated it into my life.

My Definition of Confidence

Knowing oneself and that no matter what someone else may think of you, you are able to stand strong in who you are and your beliefs. It’s something no one else can give you, but you must practice and learn yourself.

How I Became Confident

I had been torn down from years of body scrutiny in the modeling world. I recall never fitting in the sample size at fittings for fashions shows. When I was in front of all the models and staff working on a show, the stylist shouted that I was “too fat” and had a diva fit over the size of my butt and thighs. I hit rock bottom with my self-esteem. I was looking in mirrors, wondering why I couldn’t get a thigh gap and searching online for operations to make my calves slimmer. I did stupid things like the Beyoncé-endorsed maple syrup diet and eating only ham for a week.

Related: Demi Lovato and Carrie Fisher Are United Against Body Shamers

Sometimes it takes everyone telling you that you won’t make it or won’t accomplish anything to give you the ammunition to prove them wrong. At this point, I decided to rebuild myself with a renewed sense of self and a chance to create who I was. I wanted to model and to hopefully open doors for other women who were told they couldn’t make it. So I began creating vision boards, practicing posing, and working out.

Only you can decide who you are and what you want to do. Given this moment of clarity, I began to realize the fact I never fitted in proved that actually, I’m unique and one of a kind. Just like everyone else is, and if everyone could embrace and use this to their advantage, they would thrive.

Unfortunately, society and education tends to encourage “normal” as an aspiration. However, I completely disagree. Believing we should nurture our individual talents is the true beauty of humanity. Once I saw the beauty in my own uniqueness, I started to become more confident, and now anyone could call me names, but no one can take away the confidence I have built. I know who I am, what I am able to achieve because no one can stop you from succeeding. Only you can bring yourself to the world.

My tips for becoming more confident

  • Ask yourself who you want to be.

  • Write or think about what you’re grateful for every day.

  • Look at yourself in the mirror and see more than just your appearance — appreciate what your body can do.

  • Respect your body. It’s your home, so incorporate nutritious food.

  • Remind yourself that failures are actually lessons, and every decision is a step forward because it is leading to something new.

  • You decide what beauty is. Not society. And you are beautiful because you are limited edition and irreplaceable. Tell yourself no one else can ever be you and that is your power.

  • Stop comparing yourself to others. We are all unique and that’s what is special.

Licensed clinician Ilene Fishman told RunwayRiot, “improving self-confidence begins with looking in rather than outside of ourselves to know who we are and how we feel. We must work to silence the part of us that is self-critical and self-sabotaging and also quiet the societal messages designed to prey on our insecurities. We can trust that who we are is whole and good enough.”

Related: How the Media Fanfare for David Bridal’s Curvy Model Proves How Far Behind We Are

I also hit the street and asked a selection of women in New York for their confidence tips. Watch below and tell us what you think in the comments.

Read This Next: The Top 10 Body Positive Moments of 2015