Iskra Lawrence Shared These Retouched Photos to Make an Important Point About Self-Love

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It’s not every day that a social media star sounds off on the dangers of altering pictures. But Iskra Lawrence did just that when she shared these “heavily retouched” images on Instagram yesterday.

“You might be wondering who that random blonde girl is,” the model says in the caption to her post, which features two photos of her taken about six or seven years ago. Clad in lingerie, Lawrence has flawless skin, defined abs, and a head of voluminous curls—and none of that is real, she says.

RELATED: 13 Body-Positive Influencers You Should Follow on Instagram

“That smooth a$$ skin? Not mine – a computer programme did that,” she wrote. The full, thick hair isn’t hers either. She’s wearing extensions. Her waist, legs, and arms were slimmed with Photoshop. “No eye bags, well actually no nothing that makes me resemble the real me.”

Lawrence—who’s now an ambassador for the National Eating Disorder Association—says the worst part is that she wanted to look like that. “I thought if I had ‘perfected’ images (like the ones I saw of other models) that I would book more jobs = would make me happy and successful.”

But photos like these actually made her feel the opposite: “In reality seeing retouched images of myself gave me even more insecurities and body image issues because I couldn’t even look like or relate to the image of myself!”

This isn’t the first time the 26-year-old has tried to show her millions of Instagram followers that attempting to be flaw-free is futile. Last year, Lawrence shared two side-by-side images of herself, one unedited and the other tweaked using tools on her phone. “I can’t leave home everyday retouched & live in the ‘real world’ airbrushed so why would I want to pretend to be online?” she asked fans.

That same message punctuates Lawrence’s latest body-positive post, which asks us to pursue authenticity and practice self-love: “So please NEVER EVER compare yourself to images you see,” she writes. “Many aren’t real.”

What is real, according to Lawrence? You as you are. “Your imperfectly perfect self [is what] what makes you magical, unique and beautiful.”

These days Lawrence’s Instagram page is full of images like this one, that capture her just as she is.

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10 Graduation Speeches That Will Inspire You, No Matter How Old You Are

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Graduation season is in full swing, and that means a whole new crop of commencement addresses full of hard-earned wisdom and thoughtful guidance. The speeches may be written for college seniors, but the advice they impart is often timeless. Below we’ve rounded up 10 of the most memorable addresses of all time. They’re sure to move you—whether you’re about to embark on your post-school life, or you need a dose of inspiration along the way.

Pharrell Williams

New York University, 2017

“Engage and inspire, whether on an individual level or loudly within your communities. Talk about your accomplishments. It’s very important. Be humble, but not too humble. Don’t be invisible.”

Steve Jobs

Stanford University, 2005

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

RELATED: 21 Reasons You’ll Live Longer Than Your Friends

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Wellesley College, 2015

“Now girls are often raised to see love only as giving. Women are praised for their love when that love is an act of giving. But to love is to give and to take. Please love by giving and by taking. Give and be given. If you are only giving and not taking, you’ll know. You’ll know from that small and true voice inside you that we females are so often socialized to silence.”

J.K. Rowling

Harvard University, 2008

“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged.”

Amy Poehler

Harvard University, 2011

“All I can tell you today is what I have learned, what I have discovered as a person in this world. And that is this: you can’t do it alone. As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life. No one is here today because they did it on their own.”

RELATED: The Best Advice From the Happiest People on the Planet

Maya Rudolph

Tulane University, 2015

“So hold on to your old friends. Kiss your Mama. Admit what your dreams are. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t know what you’re going to do tomorrow. But work hard and don’t be lazy. And put away your damn phone once in a while. And be nice to jerks because we still don’t know the criteria for getting into heaven yet.”

Michelle Obama

Spelman College, 2011

“The truth is that there will always be folks out there who make assumptions about others. There will always be folks who try to raise themselves up by cutting other people down. That happens to everyone, including me, throughout their lives. But when that happens to you all, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to just stop a minute, take a deep breath, because it’s going to need to be deep, and I want you to think about all those women who came before you.”

Arianna Huffington

Sarah Lawrence College, 2011

“And remember that while there will be plenty of signposts along your path directing you to make money and climb up the ladder, there will be almost no signposts reminding you to stay connected to the essence of who you are, to take care of yourself along the way, to reach out to others, to pause to wonder, and to connect to that place from which everything is possible. ‘Give me a place to stand,’ my Greek compatriot Archimedes said, ‘and I will move the world.'”

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Denzel Washington

University of Pennsylvania, 2011

“Because taking a risk is not just about going for a job. It’s also about knowing what you know and what you don’t know. It’s about being open to people and ideas… While it may be frightening, it will also be rewarding because the chances you take, the people you meet, the people you love, the faith that you have, that’s what’s going to define you.”

Oprah Winfrey

Agnes Scott College, 2017​​​​​​

“I want you to work in your own way to change the world in respectful conversations with others. I want you to enter every situation aware of its context, open to hear the truth of others and most important, open to letting the process of changing the world change you. That is the spirit of constructive engagement.”

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Christie Brinkley on Rocking a Bikini at 63: "Live Your Life Being Kind to Your Body"

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Can you believe Christie Brinkley is 63? The skin-care-line creator and veteran model (she landed her first Sports Illustrated cover in 1979!) shares how she stays so fit, her healthy food philosophy, and why she’s not done saying yes to bikinis.

My words of wellness are…

Live your life being kind to your body. I exercise because I want to have healthy joints and be able to ski with my kids. Feeling good is looking good, and that can translate to an energy you exude.

A current favorite workout is…

Cycling class—SoulCycle, Peloton, Flywheel. It’s a way to kick your metabolism into high gear while having fun. I also have a fat-tire bike that I ride on beaches and trails. Some days the only free time I have to exercise is while I’m drying my hair, so I do lunges and squats.

My food philosophy is…

I am a vegetarian but an aspiring vegan, I like to say. I try not to eat too much animal product. My diet is mainly fresh fruit and vegetables, grains, and beans.

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Women shouldn’t be afraid to…

Break the rules. We’re told you can’t grow your hair past your shoulders or wear a bikini after a certain age. But women shouldn’t allow those barriers to stop us from doing things simply because we’ve been told that somehow we’re not as relevant as we once were. Anything I can do to help break down those restraints—like my Sports Illustrated photos—count me in.

The health habit I wish I’d started when I was younger is…

Wearing sunblock. I grew up in Malibu on the beach. At 18, I got a job as a model, and I was sent to beaches all over the world. I was handed a bikini and told to get a tan, and I was only too happy to comply. I look back at some of the pictures, and I am the color of leather! I can’t believe I got so tan.

My skin secret these days is…

Heal, repair, and protect from further damage. Like, for the Sports Illustrated shoot, I got a spray tan. I love stand-up paddleboarding, so now I think about putting on exercise leggings and a rash guard to not let the sun bake on me. And I adore my Recapture 360 cream. I swear by it. It’s my shield.

RELATED: 6 Badass Athletes in the 2017 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

I have learned from my kids…

To see the world from different perspectives. I like the way they are so carefree. Sailor, 18, happens to be a great dancer, so I follow her moves and try to copy her. Alexa, 31, is a real poet, and I just love seeing things through her prism. My son, Jack, who’s 21, he’s my adventure kid. They make me laugh.

My most recent moment of bliss came…

Last night. My son came home and we went out for dinner, and I ordered a dozen oysters and I just kept going, “Ahhh.” I had my sunshine there, we were laughing and talking, I had a glass of champagne.

A trend I’m loving is…

Women supporting women. I see how my daughters communicate on social media, and it is so much about cheering each other on. I think there is a real movement toward kindness.

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Halle Berry Has ‘No Fear’ to Bare All in Racy Instagram Post

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This article originally appeared on 

Halle Berry is not afraid to show it off.

The Oscar-winning actress posted a sexy Instagram post on Tuesday flaunting her amazing body as she wrote, “I’ll tell you what freedom is to me. No fear. #NinaSimone.”

Berry, 50, has never shown fear or shyness when celebrating her body and the work she puts into it. Last week, the actress attended VH1’s 2nd Annual Dear Mama: An Event To Honor Moms in a one-shoulder sheer number.

In March, the X-Men star proclaimed she’d do anything for snacks, including wearing a white lace, see-through cover up dress.

“Me when someone says ‘I’m coming over and I’ve got snacks,’” she wrote in the caption.

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She also notably stripped and took a dive in a pool after the Academy Awards, taking off her custom translucent and spangled one-shoulder Atelier Versace gown before jumping in.

The actress can next be seen in Kingsman: The Golden Circle out in September.

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Misty Copeland on Building Resilience, Her Gym Pet Peeve, and the One Move She Swears By

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Some may have thought Misty Copeland was a flash in the pan, but the American Ballet Theater principal dancer is proving her staying power. In addition to performing—she makes her debut as Kitri in Don Quixote at the Metropolitan Opera House this week—Copeland is a brand ambassador for Under Armour, with her own clothing collaboration. And this spring she published a wellness book titled Ballerina Body.

“So much a part of my success is all of the things that are in the book,” says Copeland, 34. “It is allowing women to kind of explore themselves and love themselves now, and be in the present, and enjoy the journey to becoming your best self.” (Ballerina Body includes some of the dancer’s killer moves, too.)

We recently caught up with Copeland and chatted about body image, the one exercise she always makes time for, and the value of living in the moment.

From an early age, you experienced criticism about your body. What advice do you have for anyone who is unsure about her body or doesn’t feel confident in her skin.

I feel like women today, with the social media being so relevant in our lives and in pop culture, it is important not to get caught up in this image that is not real. It is so beautiful to be an individual and to love yourself, and be who you are. There is no need to transform through plastic surgery or all those crazy filters and look like someone else. Why would you want to do that? I think it is so amazing to be unique. It can be a very hard process, and I went through it, being told that I wasn’t right— I am still told to this day by some people that black dancers shouldn’t exist in the ballet world—and being told to lose weight at a young age. I think it is important to love yourself now and surround yourself with people who are going to remind you to love yourself.

What do you love most about your body?

I love my strength that my body has held since I was a child, even before dance. Not just my big calves that I had when I was a little peanut that looked ridiculous on my body, but the inner strength that I feel like I had because of the atmosphere I grew up in. Growing up in a single parent home and watching my mother raise six children and living in a motel, all of these things I think have given me the strength to be who I am today.

What is one workout move that you swear by?

Something as simple as doing a plank strengthens your mind over matter by having to hold yourself in a position for a long period of time, and you are not being active. You’re activating so many muscle groups by simply holding yourself in on place, and you don’t need any apparatus to do it so you can do it anywhere. I hold it for a minute at a time, which is normal. I started working with a trainer recently and he will trick me and tell me it has been one minute when it has been two minutes, and I’m like ‘Why are you doing this to me!’

RELATED: 20 Ways to Do a Plank

What is your biggest gym pet peeve?

I am not a big makeup girl, and I am kind of like, if I am working out, I’m working out; I am not going to the gym to be pretty. So I think maybe when I see people with their hair down and makeup on and a little bra, I am like ‘Girl, just get sweaty and do what you need to do.’

What is your go-to healthy meal?

For snacks it is definitely nuts; I always have nuts with me. There are so many nuts in my locker, and I throw them into my dance bag and have them throughout the day, because I rarely get a break longer than 5 minutes on the hour for eight-hour days. My go-to dinner would be a broiled salmon or roasted vegetables.

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What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from ballet?

It’s taught me to be patient and to enjoy the things that I learn through this journey of life. Because we spend so much of our time as dancers in the studio training, and it is a very small portion of it that is actually on stage, so I think that it has taught me to enjoy the sweeter things in life, and be patient and not feel like I need to get somewhere fast, and that the rainbow will be there, rather than just enjoying what is happening now and being present.

What makes you feel most beautiful?

I think when I’m in a place where I feel really at peace with myself and who I am and just content in my life. I feel like that’s when I feel the most powerful and in control and beautiful.

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8 Inspiring Quotes That Capture Why We Love Lena Dunham

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Lena Dunham, champion of self-acceptance, turns 31 on Saturday. The actress, writer, and creator of Girls never shies away from an opportunity to advocate for body positivity and mental health. So to celebrate her big day, we’ve rounded up a few of Dunham’s most inspiring quotes: Below are eight times she got real about the life-changing power of exercise, good health care, and not giving “even the tiniest of sh*ts” what others think about her body.

On the importance of health care

“Good health care has allowed me to conquer physical and mental illness and continue to work, to express myself, to enjoy life even when it had all the makings of a bleak month or year. I am f*cking lucky. Luck, in the form of health coverage—that’s a huge roadblock sitting in the way of so many American women conquering their lives.”—Lenny Letter, May 2017

On the therapeutic power of exercise

“To those struggling with anxiety, OCD, depression: I know it’s mad annoying when people tell you to exercise, and it took me about 16 medicated years to listen. I’m glad I did. It ain’t about the ass, it’s about the brain.” —Instagram, April 2015

RELATED: 15 Inspiring Things Celebrities Have Said About Dealing With Anxiety

On her childhood

“My parents both have really healthy attitudes about their own bodies but also about the range of things that can be beautiful. But they also just always made me feel pretty and cool and smart, even in the moments when I have known–and still know– that my body wasn’t fitting into a traditional Hollywood idea of the female body.” —Playboy, April 2013

On the pressure to be perfect

“Let’s get something straight: I didn’t hate what I looked like—I hated the culture that was telling me to hate it.” —Glamour, January 2017

On the value of self-care

“I am certainly no self-help guru but here is what I know tonight: when you take the time and space you need, kindly and responsibly, you’re suddenly available to the people you love in a whole new way.” —Instagram, September 2015

RELATED: The Best Advice From the Happiest People on the Planet

On Hollywood’s crazy beauty standards

“I don’t feel like my work is dependent on my size. I feel like my work is dependent on the fact that I’m an everywoman. I’d be an everywoman if I lost 20 pounds or if I gained 50 pounds, because of my attitude and it’s my relationship to the world and the fact that like I have two front teeth that are bigger than the rest of my teeth.” —Time, April 2012

On photo retouching

“Not done with getting my picture taken (once an insufferable ham, always an insufferable ham) but done with allowing images that retouch and reconfigure my face and body to be released into the world.” —Lenny Letter, March 2016

On loving her body

“I feel I’ve made it pretty clear over the years that I don’t give even the tiniest of sh*ts what anyone else feels about my body. I’ve gone on red carpets in couture as a size 14. I’ve done sex scenes days after surgery, mottled with scars. I’ve accepted that my body is an ever changing organism, not a fixed entity—what goes up must come down and vice versa. I smile just as wide no matter my current size because I’m proud of what this body has seen and done and represented. Chronic illness sufferer. Body-shaming vigilante. Sexual assault survivor. Raging hottie. Just like all of YOU.” —Instagram, March 2017

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Kate Upton Says No to Crazy Bridal Diets for Wedding to Justin Verlander: ‘I Never Get on a Scale’

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Kate Upton is starting to plan her wedding!

After announcing her engagement to Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, 34, last May, the 24-year-old supermodel wasn’t ready to rush down the aisle. But now, a full year later — and after attending the Pronovias bridal fashion show in Barcelona recently — she tells PEOPLE she’s finally ready to start the process.

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“This is the first time I’m actually looking at dresses,” the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model says of the fashion show, which featured the Spanish house’s newest designs. “This is the perfect place to start because they’re so known for wedding dresses. It’s an iconic place so I can figure out where I’m going to go on my special day.” 

She says her own dream gown is “something that’s classic, with a sexy twist.” Though, whatever look she ends up in, Upton knows her future husband will approve: “Justin is so supportive and I don’t think that he would honestly have a strong opinion in that way,” she says. “He’s a lover, not a judger.”

RELATED: How Kate Upton Gets in Swimsuit-Ready Shape

No wonder she calls her fiancé “my perfect partner” — “Our relationship is my favorite thing about my life right now,” she says.

One thing she won’t be doing, though? Trying any crazy bridal diets. “I never get on a scale because you can’t judge yourself for how much you weigh,” she says. “What really matters is how good I feel.”

Rather, she’s been working with trainer Ben Bruno for over a year and a half to boost her fitness and confidence goals — rather than any weight goals (he also trains Chelsea Handler and The Big Bang Theory‘s Jim Parsons, among others). “Ben is an amazing trainer,” she says. “He really keeps you moving forward and staying competitive with yourself to try to have the best workout that you personally have ever had to make you feel and look your best.”

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She and Bruno share the same philosophy, she says: “I reached a place in my career where I didn’t think of my body as something that I wanted to fit into a certain size; I started looking at my body as a function to help me live my life the best I can — to have energy and to feel strong.”

In turn, she has noticed changes. “I’ve noticed my body changing in the fact that I have more energy, I feel stronger, I’m able to recover faster, whether it’s from jetlag or from a hard workout,” she says. “Things like that help you enjoy your life more and have the best use of function from your body.”


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Demi Lovato on Her Gym Regimen and New Activewear Collection With Kate Hudson: ‘It’s All About Finding Your Strength’

This article originally appeared on 

This week’s #WCW? Demi Lovato, whose latest project is all about inspiring healthy living and body positivity!

After a chance run-in with Fabletics founder Kate Hudson, Lovato and the actress linked up to launch a new capsule collection.

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“I met Kate while actually in the gym one time,” the Grammy nominee, 24, says of how her Demi Lovato for Fabletics line came came to be. “We connected, and I loved what she’s done with Fabletics — and here we are now!”

From a young age, Lovato struggled with body image issues. After battling bulimia, cutting, addiction and bipolar disorder, the former child star sought treatment in 2011. Today, she’s five years sober. And while she tells PEOPLE “I never thought I’d be in such a great place,” Lovato admits she still has bad days. Her answer to those? Positive self-affirmations — and gym time.

“Getting in the gym makes me feel the best I possibly can, so I make sure to get that in,” says the “No Promises” singer.

When it’s time to work out, she focuses on mixed martial arts — from kickboxing and Muay Thai boxing to jujitsu — as well as cardio and lifting weights. So when Lovato hits the gym, comfort is key. And that sentiment informs her new Fabletics collection, which includes bras, tanks, leggings, knit tops and more, many of which nod to lyrics from her albums Confident and Unbroken.


“It’s important to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing,” Lovato says of the line. (A portion of the proceeds go to the U.N.’s female-empowerment group Girl Up.) “It’s all about finding your strength, feeling comfortable in your own skin and having fun. It’s a reflection of me, and I’m in a really good place right now.”

RELATED: Demi Lovato Shows off Her Toned Frame in Orange One-Piece After Preaching Body Positivity

Indeed, Lovato — who a source says recently amicably split from MMA fighter Guilherme “Bomba” Vasconcelos — has enjoyed a particularly triumphant past few years. Her 2015 album Confident garnered the singer her first Grammy nomination in February; last month she was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2017; her Fabletics collection drops in Mid-may; her YouTube documentaryI Am: Demi Lovato, is due this fall; and she’s working on “more mature and soulful” new music.

Says Lovato: “I hope to stay as true to myself as true to myself as I possibly can.”

Click here for more on Demi Lovato for Fabletics, due next week.

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Jim Gaffigan’s Wife Jeannie on Discovering She Had a Brain Tumor the Size of an Apple: ‘I Was a Ticking Time Bomb’

This article originally appeared on 

For months, comedy writer Jeannie Gaffigan brushed off her recurring headaches, dizziness and coughing fits, blaming the symptoms as byproducts of life as a working mom of five.

It wasn’t until she began to lose her hearing, however, that Jeannie – the wife of comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan – decided to push for answers, ultimately learning the unimaginable: she had a tumor the size of an apple wrapped around her brain stem.

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“I was a ticking time bomb, waiting to be paralyzed,” Jeannie, 47, says in this week’s issue of PEOPLE.

It was a benign papilloma of the choroid plexus that had likely been growing for over a year, says her surgeon, Dr. Joshua Bederson, Professor and System Chair Department of Neurosurgery at The Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.

“All function of the brain passes through the brain stem and out into the body,” Bederson explains. “And her brain stem was compressed.”

RELATED: Comedian Jim Gaffigan’s Wife Recovering After Surgery to Remove ‘Large’ Brain Tumor

Jeannie and Jim, 50, say a “miracle” lead them to Bederson.

After their initial shock wore off, the couple mobilized, reaching out to friends and family, who suggested they turn to the neurosurgery team at Mount Sinai.

“We found the top guy,” says Jeannie. “But we had no expectation that we could get him.”

The couple planned to walk into the hospital’s emergency room with their scans in hand, but through connections were able to meet immediately with Bederson, whose scheduled operation had – in a twist of fate – been delayed.

On April 18, Jeannie went into surgery, which took over nine hours and involved cutting-edge virtual and augmented reality technology. It was ultimately a success.

“We were prepped for the understanding that good news would be like, ‘We got 85 percent of it,’ ” says Jim. “But they removed all the tumor, and there was no damage to her 12 cranial nerves.”

RELATED: 5 Things Everyone Should Know About Brain Tumors 

As long as there’s no residual tumor found at Jeannie’s three-month, post-operative MRI, Bederson says, “she should be cured.”

Unfortunately, recovery hasn’t been easy. Jeannie battled aspiration pneumonia before returning home, where she’s now recuperating with a temporary tracheotomy and feeding tube in place.

“The progress has been pretty amazing, but we’re far from normal,” admits Jim.

Still, the pair say the entire ordeal has reaffirmed their faith and helped them understand the importance of compassion.

“My whole life has changed,” says Jeannie. “The people who have come out of this have shown me how loved I am.”

Adds Jim of the response from friends, family – and fans, “People are so generous, it’s really made me believe that there’s hope for humanity.”

The couple praises all of the physicians and doctors who helped them – including Bederson, Dr. David Godin, Dr. Pamela Hops and PA Leslie Schlachter – and say they hope others will learn to prioritize their personal health.

Says Jeannie, “I want to help people get through the worst news that you can get.”

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