One of Aerie’s #AerieREAL models, Iskra Lawrence, has nailed the infuriating experience of being told when to smile ― and when to not smile ― as a woman.
In a recent interview with Seventeen, Lawrence shared a memory of her first modeling shoot:
I remember just being so stiff on set. It takes a long, long time to get comfortable in front of the camera, especially at that age. I remember just trying to think breathe, don’t smile, cause I remember when I started modeling, [agents] said I smile too much and I have to be moodier.
That’s right, ladies. When you’re meant to look seductive, make sure you don’t crack a smile. But when you’re walking down the street, you absolutely better look cheerful ― unless you want to be called out by random men who feel entitled to control your facial expressions.
When Seventeen asked Lawrence what she thinks of men telling women to smile, she said that she ― like just about every woman ― can’t stand it.
English workmen –- you know, builders –- would sometimes shout, “cheer up, love,” or “crack a smile,” and I’m like, OK, how dare you try to tell me to smile! Is it for you benefit? I should look smiley and therefore, attractive to you? Like it’s such a weird concept to me. Some people have a resting bitch face. If I’m tired I could be making faces and I don’t even know I’m doing. There’s nothing wrong with having a bad day. Let yourself feel those emotions because every emotion is validated.
Lawrence has been consistently outspoken when it comes to body positivity and self-acceptance. Much of her Instagram account is dedicated to encouraging young women not to strive for unrealistic standards of “perfection.”
In a September 22 post, she shared an retouched photo with an uplifting caption.
“This is a 100 percent real body,” she wrote. “The pursuit of perfection and a certain beauty ideal wasted so many years of my life. You get to choose how you feel about yourself...I’m not gonna allow those things (or so called) “flaws” to stop me feeling good. I’m so much more than that and I will decide how I feel about myself and you can too.”
With more than 2 million followers on Instagram, we hope her message sticks.
Head over to Seventeen to read Lawrence’s full interview on body positivity, self-love and the beauty of unretouched photos.