As the world of modeling begins to become more diverse than the usual “straight size versus plus size” industry of the past, models getting involved in social issues are becoming less surprising but no less impactful. Model Iskra Lawrence refusing to retouch her Instagram photos is an example of a bold, body positive move forward against the Photoshopping culture of our mainstream media and society. With all the celebrities called out for poorly Photoshopping Instagram pics, it’s a wonder to me that anyone even bothers with the photo editing tool at all anymore.
Instead of eschewing the practice silently, however, Lawrence is using her refusal to retouch as a political and social statement against body shaming. According to Cosmopolitan, by captioning her non retouched pictures with body positive comments, the model manages to drive home her point that all bodies are worth finding beauty in. Captions such as, “No filter. No retouching, because who says cellulite is a flaw? YOU decide what beauty is and it’s deeper than skin deep,” and, “Yes this is clearly a booty pic, but do you see why? Because I haven’t airbrushed my tiger stripe stretch marks or my cellulite lightening bolts or my back fat because this is my body, I love it, it’s real, and I love posting pictures showing how confident I am,” help to give voice to her beliefs on the importance of self love.
What’s more? Her comments are backed up by her actions. Not only does her positivity and inclusivity shine throughout her Instagram, but Lawrence is an activist in many more ways.
As well as smashing industry standards with her work as a model, Lawrence also writes and is the Managing Editor for website Runway Riot. The site promises to be “dedicated to serving an underrepresented and often overlooked community of curvier women who deserve to have just as many stylish choices as everyone else,” and it follows Lawrence’s stance against [photoshop.] Photoshop “Every editorial fashion spread you see on Runway Riot will be 100 percent un-retouched,” the site proudly states.
Although the site only launched in Nov. 2015, Runway Riot is a body positivefashion revolution, designed not just to inspire plus size women but to make the fashion world take notice, too. As Bustle writer Augusta Statz put it, “What else would you expect with oh-so-body-posi Iskra Lawrence as the Managing Editor, you know?”
This persistently body positive star is also the ambassador for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and creator of the “NEDA seal of approval,” an award for feminist brands and individuals striving to make a difference.
Lawrence’s social consciousness is refreshing and one that needs not just to be recognized, but celebrated. I for one can’t wait to see how her body positive activism continues in this new year.