Aerie has been taking the lingerie world by storm with consistently strong sales.
The lingerie brand of the teen retailer American Eagle appeals to young women with its curvy models and unretouched images.
Iskra Lawrence is perhaps the most recognizable Aerie model, and she illustrates the confidence Aerie encourages its shoppers to have as well.
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She told Business Insider she was axed from her first modeling agency for having hips that were too big. She was just a teenager at the time. Now Aerie announced that she would be an official brand representative.
Jennifer Foyle, Aerie's global brand president, said in a statement:
"Aerie is about embracing and celebrating the real you; Iskra embodies our mantra of challenging conventional standards through her unique beauty and vibrant personality. We are thrilled to bring her to the forefront of our campaigns."
Lawrence chatted with Business Insider last summer about her experiences as a model and about what's important to her. It solidifies that she is, indeed, a role model for young women.
Lawrence got into modeling when she was 13 — her mother entered her into an Elle Girl contest.
Before that, she was a swimmer, which helped her develop a good relationship with food. "Because I was a swimmer, I felt like sports did help me to realize that my body was more than what it just looked like ... and if didn't eat, then I couldn't swim fast," she said.
She was dropped from her first agency because her hips were too big. "I was about 15-16," she told Business Insider, "and they just said to me, 'Your [hips are] 36 inches — they need to be 34 at this age. They're too big.' That's just destroying."
Additionally, she said she was sent to plus-size agencies — who said she wasn't big enough.
When she started out modeling as a "straight size model," she was appalled at how much her photos were altered. "I was like, that's not even my forearm!" she said. "They literally airbrushed my forearm."
"You look at these images, and you think they're beautiful, but you can't relate to them — and it was me," she said. "And I couldn't relate to it, let alone any other girl."
She doesn't diet, but she tries to eat food that is healthy.
She works out, but not to lose weight — just to stay healthy. She hits the gym about three times a week for 1 1/2 to 2 hours each time.
She has an old baking vlog online, but now, she says, she has "a lot of healthy recipes." She says she's been doing "a lot of research on nutrition." She posts healthy recipes on Instagram, she says.
Lawrence has appeared in Aerie's groundbreaking #AerieReal campaign. She said before that she "wanted to be an Aerie girl."
She says she loves working with Aerie. "Aerie builds you up, and it makes you feel positive" she said, asking, "Why don't more companies do that?"
She came up with the idea for the National Eating Disorder Association's Seal of Approval. Because of this, Aerie won a NEDA Inspires award.
The Seal of Approval is a symbol for young women to know that something has been approved by NEDA. "It's so specific to be totally unretouched — it's a very hard thing to do for companies," she said, citing how wrinkles in clothing often need to be retouched. This seal lets young girls know they're "looking at something that isn't damaging."
"There's a direct correlation between media and how we feel about our bodies," she said.
She says she posts bikini photos on Instagram not but to be sexy, but to show people bodies. "I'm just trying to show bodies — we need to see bodies! There's nothing wrong with that," she said, added that many young women feel uncomfortable in their skins.
"These young girls, they just want to see someone normal. I'm very normal," she said. "I've struggled for ages to try to do this and because of that ... I've learned about myself, and that's what makes me who I am today."
She has received positive feedback from her fans, and she posted one drawing she received on Instagram. She has even received positive feedback from young girls' parents. "That's why now I feel such a responsibility," she said.
Ten years from now, she says she'd like to speak at a TED Talk. "I want to create a lasting impression in the fashion industry," she said.
She posts lots of humorous body-positive messages on Instagram.
When not modeling or serving as a NEDA ambassador, she's a normal girl who likes to have a good time. She says she makes silly karaoke videos with her roommate, and she's loving living in New York City — she just moved here a year and a half ago.
She said she heard that one model said, "Oh that's a thing now, isn't it — curvy models?" "It's not a thing," Lawrence said. "We need to feel represented."
Ultimately, she says, she wants to empower women and "leave a lasting impression and a legacy."