Iskra Lawrence modeling for Justin Alexander at the Baccarat Hotel.


NO AIRS ABOUT ISKRA: Turning away from tradition, the bridal designer Justin Alexander selected Iskra Lawrence, a full-size model, for his latest campaign.

After an all-day shoot at the Baccarat Hotel Tuesday, she explained why she decided to stop Photoshopping her Instagram photos. “I had had my own trials and tribulations with body image. I had gone through a lot starting from my teenage years. It was definitely freedom to put my real self out there. Social media should be a true sense of who you are,” she said. “It felt wrong to edit out things that I didn’t feel were good enough to try to fit what society is telling me I should look like.”

Emily Soto shot the British-born model for the new campaign, which will not be retouched or Photoshopped. After moving to New York four years ago, her agent told her that social media could really help her modeling career. “They said you should invest more time on it and make sure you’re posting regularly. I decided I’m not just going to do it for the sake of it. What do I want to stand for? Do I have a message?” she said. “Being very vocal about how society sets us up to not feel good enough, it resonated with everyone because everyone feels like that…I always encourage other people to share a story and voices. That is so important.”

Her this-is-me social media approach has won over many fans including 3.8 million on Instagram. “The response from my followers was incredible. In the last three or four years, my social media has really grown because it’s just been so real and honest. It’s great because I can just post things, throw them up and my followers know that it’s just really me.” Lawrence said. “Then when I get to meet them, they say, ‘Oh, you definitely don’t retouch. You look like that in person.’ That is really cool.”

She said her vocalness has made many brands and magazines not want to shoot with her. “But when a brand does align with my values, it’s wonderful.” she said.

Alexander didn’t need to be convinced. As for why more bridal brands don’t use large-size models, he said, “There’s this unnatural idea that it is always a size two or a size four. We’re completely inclusive whether you’re skinny or full-figured, we want to include everybody.”

In its 71st year, Justin Alexander is sold in about 80 countries. The core of the brand’s business is currently between sizes 12 and 16, but sizing starts at a 2 and goes up to 32, Alexander said.

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