If there was an orderly queue being formed by those wanting to get rid of Instagram likes, Iskra Lawrence would be front of it. The first reason being, she's British and we love a queue, but mainly because she believes it's the reason Instagram is "corrupting from just being a sharing space", the model told POPSUGAR. She's a model represented by Models 1, a body positive activist, and as someone with 4.4 million followers, she knows about the impact social media has on mental well-being. She understands that her visible platform comes with responsibility and how it feeds into people's "self-worth and self-esteem", particularly when it comes to Gen-Z. We sat down with Iskra to discuss all things comparisons with others and ourselves, the impact of social media, and how beauty can be used positively.
On the Impact of Instagram Likes Removal
I was curious to see what Iskra thought about the rumoured removal of Instagram likes given it's a vital aspect of her job, and unsurprisingly, she was all for it. She quickly admitted that around a year ago, she was "very very interested to try no likes" due to the "insecurities of not getting enough follows and likes" many people face. Iskra doesn't think this should interfere with brands working with celebrities and influencers either, explaining "I know Instagram will still show engagement somehow. Maybe it will be by how long someone hovers on the image. They have very, very clever algorithms."
On the Impact Instagram has on the Younger Generation
One group of people Instagram likes affect more than others: Gen-Z, and that's not something Iskra takes lightly. She's hyperaware of how social media can have a negative impact on one's self-esteem as it leads not only people comparing themselves to others, but even to their past selves. "It's almost like a new type of comparison that we've never had before because we're comparing ourselves to our last post and that can be super damaging." As for answer to those who think Gen-Z needs to toughen up, "Do you remember being like 13? Do you remember going through puberty? Your body is changing. You're figuring out who you're attracted to. And then you've got social media now also comparing not just comparing yourself to the rest of the school, the rest of the world. And the last photo you posted. It's a completely new element and it's just so, so much tougher for young people."
On the 1 Piece of Advice She's Tell Her Younger Self?
"I wish I would have told myself that you have time. You have time to grow into yourself. You have time to figure yourself out."
On Using Beauty as Power
It's not just her approach to Instagram, either. For her latest collaboration with L'Oréal, Iskra created her own lipstick shade and for every tube sold, 50p gets donated to the Prince's Trust charity, which aims to help young people struggling to transform their lives. It was important for the launch to have not only a charitable aspect, but to also be something all of her fans could enjoy. "L'Oreal has always stood for self-worth and empowerment, yet it's accessible because it's an affordable price, and you can get it anywhere," she explained. "So everyone can be involved in the brand, and for me, that's very, very important because I realise my followers are from different incomes and different places."
On Makeup as an Equaliser
"I think that our unique power is in identifying who we are and if you look at the beauty industry, it's one of the most diverse, if not easily the most diverse ... We're seeing campaigns fronted by people who would have never been seen in the fashion industry and plastered over the front of stores. And it's absolutely beautiful seeing that diversity regardless of size and shape and race, all of these things. Makeup is one size fits all, and everyone can be involved in it."
On Her Next Colourful Hair Choice
She's tried silver and rose gold but what next? Iskra said she's planning on matching her hair to her outfits using the wash-out L'Oreal Colorista. Get ready to see more hair that matches her workout gear. I only wish that one-day colour was more available when I was younger and save that sun-in for, well, never.