“My energy was being used up trying to achieve something completely self absorbed and shallow.”
If you haven’t been following Iskra’s journey, get ready to be seriously inspired.
See, before the British model began her career as a teen, she was a swimmer. “I felt that sports did help me to realize that my body was more than what it just looked like,” she shares. “And if I didn’t eat, then I couldn’t swim fast.”
But when she started modeling, Iskra faced an unbelievable amount of pressure to be rail-thin, and couldn’t believe how much brands would Photoshop her body. “You look at these images and you think they’re beautiful, but you can’t relate to them – and it was me,” she shares. “I couldn’t relate to it – let alone any other girl.”
“I remember I took an editorial and I was so excited,” she remembers. “I got the pictures back and I looked in the magazine, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ My arms were half their size and I had a thigh gap magically and all these crazy things.’”
Not even her loved ones could identify her. “My family went out and tried to find my pictures in the magazines, but no one could recognize me,” she explains.
People told Iskra that she was too big to be a regular model and too small to work in the “plus-size” world. But she refused to let others’ opinions define her, and instead, created her own lane. Now, she’s one of the industry’s most in-demand models and an advocate for body positivity. “The battle of self-discovery was unavoidable for me,” she says. “But it’s why every day, I now wake up with purpose: to try and help educate young women and share my experiences, in hopes that they won’t have to go through what I did.”
Yesterday, Iskra posted the below photo on Instagram, along with this tremendously powerful caption:
Both of these images are of me.
The left is about 10 years ago.
And the right just under a month ago.
I remember being proud of how skinny I looked during this shoot.
And how now people call me fat when I’m just happy to be alive and grateful for this body I call my home.
I used to seek approval from the fashion industry and tried to be “perfect”.
I thought if I looked like “her” (an unrealistic beauty ideal), I’d be happy, successful and loved.
All I found was failure (because you can’t change who you are)
emptiness (because my time and energy was being used up trying to achieve something completely self absorbed and shallow sacrificing doing things I loved)
and unhappiness (because no restrictive diet or abusive exercise feels good)
I share my experiences with you all because if you are feeling like I did there is another way and those recovering from EDs you’re not alone.
The best thing I ever did was focus on looking after myself and being the best me I could be.
Seeing value in who I was. The impact I could have in the world and people around me. Trying to give, instead of focusing on myself, my image and needing approval from others.
And accepting that I am meant to be here just like you, and we were all created to be imperfectly perfect.
I started Investing time into self-care, doing things that made me happy.
Listening to my body and mind and nourishing them both, without guilt.
That is 10 years all squished into a lil insta caption but it did take time but it was soooo damn worth it.
Because of what I went through My dream has always been to get self-care (mental, emotional and physical wellness) education into schools. And I’ve started that, but I also wanted to create something for adults that still needed a safe space that’s judgement free to go on a positive journey of self love and that’s why I created @everyBODYwithiskra
I don’t have all the answers and I’m not ever trying to change anyone or tell people to do this and that etc. But I felt the need to create this as I wish I could have had this when I was struggling and if I’m able to use that to help even one person, even better.
Iskra, you’re not just helping one person feel better – you’re helping countless people love themselves and their bodies, and we’re beyond grateful!