From runway queen to model mama! Iskra Lawrence became a big name in the fashion industry while embracing body positivity and inclusion. She’s been modeling since she was just a teenager and has changed her look quite a bit over the years.

The U.K. native got her start at a small modeling agency in London, which she admitted she had to “grovel to even be signed.” Even though they agreed to work with her, the agency gave her a long list of reasons why she wouldn’t make it as a model, including her weight and height.

“I felt embarrassed … I didn’t feel worthy and I did have so many feelings of self-doubt,” Iskra recalled to Cosmopolitan in 2019. “I reevaluated and was like, ‘Well, I just have to work harder.’”

That being said, Iskra didn’t let the rejection break her spirit and instead, learned valuable life lessons.

“If you’re getting doors shut in your face, don’t start thinking it’s only happening to you and there is something wrong with you — that’s life,” she said. “The doors getting slammed in your face are going to make you work harder, think smarter and be more rewarded when you do get there.”

Iskra got her big break when she left the London agency because she felt like she wanted an agent who believed in her. She signed with a plus-size modeling agency in New York City after cold calling them, and one year later, she landed a major campaign for Aerie, making her a household name in the fashion industry.

“They saw the hunger,” the blonde beauty said about how her tenacity landed her the contract with the Big Apple agency. “That’s really what they said separated me from the other models, they saw I was hungrier.”

With her career on the rise, Iskra has also found time to nurture her personal life. She started dating boyfriend Philip Payne in October 2018 after meeting at the Grammys in January of that year.

“I was not meant to be there. The universe brought us together,” Iskra gushed in a YouTube video where she answered questions about her relationship. “Last minute, my friend called me and said I have one ticket to the Grammys … I’m not in the music industry, what other chance would I get to go? I got a flight there and then … I really wasn’t meant to be there. I just walked in and I was feeling myself that night.”

She caught Philip’s eye during the event and the rest is history. They expanded their family in April 2020 when Iskra gave birth to their son.

Keep scrolling to see Iskra’s transformation over the years!


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Tyler Cowan