A makeover TV show combining the talents of a trainer, professional makeup artist, and high-fashion stylist to transform someone’s look isn’t a novel concept. But model and body positive advocate Iskra Lawrence wants you to know that her new docu-series, The Mirror Challenge, is not that show.
Instead, her 5 episode series that launched Tuesday on Clevver’s Facebook Watch page is taking a look at inner beauty and asking people to face their biggest insecurities head on. The challenge, which is something Lawrence incorporated into her own self-care routine, has taught the model how to see the many things that she loves about herself, instead of focusing so much on the changes she previously wished to make to her physical appearance. And although it seems like a mirror may only reflect what’s skin-deep, she is hoping to show audiences that taking a good, hard look at yourself does much more than that.
“I realized when I was picking out physical things that I wasn’t happy with, it dictated my whole day,” the 27-year-old tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “[These physical insecurities] have so much power. That can’t be such a priority, that can’t be all consuming, that can’t be where my value and worth lies. And I’ve got to focus on different things.”
Inspired by her own journey to self-love, Lawrence has created the series to help others with “crippling insecurities” by addressing the things that make them view themselves in harmful ways. For the model, tearing herself apart was a result of rejection from the industry that she works in.
“I realized that I am a perfectionist. I’m a virgo, I’m a competitive person. And especially being a model, and going through what I did with being shamed in the industry, I very much took it out on myself in the mirror,” she says. “I would always hold my fat back and measure myself, and pull up parts of my body. Really just pick out all of the things I hated. And I hated it because I always felt like I was failing.”
As a young woman in the modeling industry, Lawrence’s standard of success included being a size 00 model on the cover of fashion magazines, which may not seem relatable to all. But the participants on her show have made it evident that this same struggle is universal.
From those who have dealt with bullies that comment on their weight, appearance, or disability, to others who’ve experienced difficulties starting a family, and grief from a #MeToo moment, Lawrence is proud to have men and women on The Mirror Challenge who were brave enough to tell their stories — while admitting that it was difficult for her to go through as well.
“I felt honored that they would trust me with this because a lot of them haven’t spoken to anyone about these things before,” Lawrence says, highlighting the narrative of the second episode participant Justin, who hadn’t taken his shirt off in front of anyone since he was 9-year-old as a result of fat-shaming. “The hardest thing for me was knowing that I would have to delve really deep and say some things that I know are gonna hurt. I had to let them get angry, get sad, all of those emotions, to kind of come to terms with everything they’ve been bottling up, and take it out on themselves to release them and then move forward.”
And although the mental and emotional transformation that takes place isn’t quite like the exterior beautification that happens on most makeover shows, Lawrence hopes that people will feel the incredible changes that so positively impact the show’s participants — and hopefully inspire viewers to take the challenge themselves.
“The premise of the show is that you need to invest time into looking after yourself because you deserve to feel good, no matter what you’ve been through,” she explains. “You are amazing and special and beautiful just the way you are. Now let’s get in front of the mirror and show you how to celebrate that.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
• Model Iskra Lawrence called out a man who said she’d be ‘perfect’ if one part of her body was bigger
• Iskra Lawrence dances in bikini on the beach: ‘I feel like a 10 no matter what anyone says’
• ASOS praised for featuring model with back rolls in backless dress