Robyn Lawley: ‘I’ve learnt to love every inch’ … here’s why you should too
ROBYN LAWLEY DIDN'T JUST BREAK THE FASHION MOULD; SHE MADE A NEW ONE. SHE TALKS TO COSMO'S MORGAN REARDON ABOUT CRUSADING FOR 'REAL GIRLS' AND HITTING THE BEACH LIKE YOU OWN IT…
Robyn Lawley is a force to be reckoned with. The Aussie model has been flying the bodylove flag since long before the Kardashians were a brand. She’s used her celeb status to promote healthy curves on the runway, in fashion campaigns and on the covers of glossy mags around the world. But surely tirelessly campaigning for real bodies to be recognised as just that – real – gets old after a while? Turns out, when you’re that passionate about something, it doesn’t.
Amongst chinwagging about the regular stuff like her gorgeous twoandahalfyearold daughter, Ripley, and the screenplay she’s currently working on, our conversation naturally turns to body image and the struggles women face in a world where size six reigns supreme. When I bring up recent comments by medical professionals, who say that curvy models promote obesity, she scoffs, ‘Oh, that’s infuriating’. Her Aussie twang (she was born and raised in Sydney) still very much intact despite her living in LA and New York since she was 18, she goes on: ‘It’s total bollocks. Some of my curviest friends are the fittest I know, whereas there are skinny girls who smoke and starve themselves – what’s healthy about that?’ I go to agree but Robyn’s on a roll. ‘Women want to see themselves represented in the media and in fashion. If they don’t, it has a direct result on their selfesteem.’
Her noBS take on the fashion industry makes the 28yearold stand out in an imageobsessed world – and is quite frankly why we’re so obsessed with her. She’s a fierce crusader for ‘real’
girls. Although nowadays Robyn prefers to wear a onepiece because she ‘has an active daughter who’s likely to pull a bikini top down’, she’s equal measures shocked and saddened to hear four in five women in Cosmo’s recent body survey don’t feel confident wearing a bikini (newsflash: every body is a bikini body).
‘Sometimes I don’t feel 100 per cent confident, so I can completely understand where they’re coming from, but we can’t let that stand in the way of what we want to do. We can’t just sit on the beach and not swim with our friends because we’re worried what other people think,’ she says. ‘You need to know that, no matter what your body shape or size, you have just as much right to go out there and wear whatever the hell you want!’ Mic drop. Just kidding, she’s got loads more to say…
When did you first start to love your body?
‘When my career started to take off, around age 18/19, I really began to embrace my curvier model status. It certainly took me a while and it didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t wake up one day and think, Oh yeah, I’ve got this body and I’m going to rock it. But being around other curvy models like Crystal Renn and Tara Lynn, who were confident and had no inhibitions, had such a positive effect on me.’
Do you still have bleugh days? ‘I do, although I have more mum brain now where I’ll walk out of the house, catch my reflection and then
do a double take, thinking, What are you wearing? But yes, models are people too and we have our ups and downs. I work in an industry where I get judged every single day purely for how I look, but I just try to put it below me and know it’s not the be all and end all. That might sound strange coming from a model, but looks only matter to a certain point – it’s always going to be your personality that matters more in the end.’
Is there any particular part of your body you’re not confident about? ‘Ironically, when the butt movement was really popular I felt kind of selfconscious about my lack of bountiful booty, but I try to focus on my best attributes.’
You’ve previously said you’re at risk of not booking as many jobs anymore because designers want super skinny or super curvy and you’re in between – is that frustrating? ‘It used to be I’m not “size zero” enough, now it’s I’m not “curvy” enough! It just stresses me out. It’s also a bit humiliating to pioneer for curvy models for so long, only to be told you’re not curvy enough. I guess it’s a good thing in a weird way [because they want super-curvy girls] but I just don’t understand what’s so wrong with diversity.’
What do you do religiously to feel good about your body? ‘I used to love the gym but I don’t go as much anymore – though throwing my 50pound (23kg) daughter up in the air 20 times a day is
the equivalent of a medicine ball workout. If I ever feel sad or angry, I’ll do something that I know I’m good at that has does nothing to do with my body, like DJing or writing. I’ve made a deal with myself that if I think negative thoughts, I have to write 100 words on my screenplay. It’s about turning a negative into a positive.’
How do you deal with body shaming online?
‘I struggle with it because, as a model, I’m constantly putting [my body] out there, especially on social media. When photos of me first started appearing [online] I got ripped apart, people called me a pig and a heifer – thankfully we’ve come a long way since then. I read the comments on my photos and generally they’re great. I’ve got my girlfriends for whenever it gets tough. I can call them to vent and just let it all out.’ Does social media ever make you feel inadequate?
‘I’m guilty of getting sucked in for sure. Those videos that play automatically always get me. I end up watching clips of female bodybuilders and feel inadequate, thinking, I can’t do any of that. That’s when I stop, log off and focus on something else.’
When you work out, is your aim to be fit or to lose weight? ‘Fit all the way. I love fit girls. I’ve got such a girl crush on all the Amazon women in Wonder Woman. I had the biggest grin on my face in the scene where they were all working out.’
Did becoming a mum change your view of your body? ‘One hundred per cent. Making a baby is a huge thing to do, and afterwards your body needs to recover – women are much stronger than they think they are. Of course, my body has changed a bit too but there’s nothing I can do about that so I’ve just got to embrace it.’
Are there words you avoid using around your daughter in terms of body image?
‘I’m definitely conscious of not putting myself down in front of her. I hate princessy things, so she doesn’t have Barbie dolls. I try to use words like “strong”, and I make sure the word “girl” isn’t used in a derogatory way, like, “Oh, she’s such a girl.” I want her to be empowered by being a girl.’
What message do you want to give to Cosmo readers? ‘My advice would be to be empowered with how you look right now, stop waiting for it to just happen, because the longer you wait, the more you’re missing out on in life. People are going to love you more when you just own you. You’re born with your body, dude – rock it!’
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