Ten minutes is all it took for body-positive activist and model Iskra Lawrence to edit her bikini shot to "perfection." But she didn't do it because she was insecure about the un-retouched version. Instead, she did it to show her followers something "real" in the sea of airbrushed images infiltrating the internet.
"I wanted to post the un-retouched pic right next to the retouched one so you could see the impact of how a few edits done on my phone can completely change the way someone looks," she wrote in an Instagram post on Tuesday. "I can't leave home everyday retouched and live in the 'real world' airbrushed so why would I want to pretend to be online."
On the left is Lawrence before the edits. On the right is Lawrence's altered image. She made her waist smaller, her boobs bigger, rounded out her cheeks and smoothed out her skin to rid herself of any "imperfections." Why? Because these are the attributes that society has deemed beautiful.
"WTF is perfect," she asks in the post. "We weren't born thinking flaws made you less beautiful. We are taught by society and the media that we should feel insecure about our flaws so we buy into certain products, etc. to 'improve' or attain perfection."
She hopes that this image, along with all of the other inspirational photos she so often posts to Instagram, can help women realize that they don't need to change aspects of their body to look like someone else.
"We are beautiful because we are us and we are so much more than our appearance," she wrote. "I hope when you see what looks like perfect flawless images of people online you don't not ever feel insecure or less beautiful because it's not real. What's real is you and you are good enough 'cause those flaws make you completely unique."
Within the past two years, Lawrence has shut down the thigh gap debate, participated in numerous un-retouched Aerie campaigns and advocated for size inclusivity, including an editorial spread for RunwayRiot, a site where she serves as managing editor. Just last week, she announced that she'd posed for Women Health U.K.'s annual naked issue.
With countless revealing interviews and photos, it's no surprise that many appreciate and respect the model for her honesty.
"Thanks for being such an inspiration @iamiskra. I have insulin resistance and I could never be 'perfect'. It's good to know I don't have to be. I just need to be healthy and happy," someone commented on her Instagram post. And another: "Oh my god, this just shows how fucked the perception of beauty is through Photoshop! Honestly you have opened my eyes so much Iskra."
Or, as one person so simply stated, "Before > After." Keep on keeping it real, Iskra.