Iskra Lawrence Aerie

Aerie, the intimate apparel that sits under American Eagle Outfitters, has signed model Iskra Lawrence to an exclusive swim and intimate apparel campaign deal for 2017.

“Our models and values completely align,” said Lawrence of her new partnership with Aerie. “We both hope that we can work toward letting every young woman love herself inside and out. It’s become our mission. It’s the core of the brand and it’s the core of what I try to do with my career.”

Lawrence is no Aerie newbie. The 26-year-old plus-size model, who hails from England, has been a part of the company’s body inclusive, nonretouched campaigns for the past few years, but now she will dedicate more of her time to the brand. For example, she appeared at an in-store fitness event over the weekend at Aerie’s new concept shop in New York City.

“I committed myself to it fully every single day,” said Lawrence of getting to a point of fully accepting her curvy body. “I spent too many years as a teenager waking up every day wanting a thigh gap and my life revolved around trying to be thinner. I wasted all these years on a thing I couldn’t achieve so I dedicated myself to not changing. I made it my mission to promote diversity and show different body shapes.”

This message of self-acceptance has been percolating throughout the industry for the past few years with plus-size model Ashley Graham appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated and Reebok pushing a #PerfectNever campaign fronted by Gigi Hadid.

“I mean, it’s mind-blowing that it has all happened and the timing is wonderful, but we still have a long way to go,” said Lawrence. “I do think that social media has helped out. We can now listen to the consumer and they want to see real bodies. They want to see a girl in a bikini that has cellulite and rolls because that’s how they look. When we do that, we are telling them they are beautiful and don’t have to be perfect.”

Just last month, Lawrence released a video of her walking through a subway car in her underwear while speaking to passengers about loving their bodies.

“It was postelection and me and my girlfriends wanted to organize and make something powerful,” said Lawrence. “My body has been my business and how I express myself since the age of 13. It took me a while to get the right car and it was completely unrehearsed. There was no script. It was just me speaking from the heart.”

Going forward Lawrence is on a mission to get self-care classes taught in school.

“Aerie has enabled me to go into different schools and teach my own self-care classes on emotional and physical health,” said Lawrence. “I really feel like the more we can talk openly about physical health and mental health, the better.”

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