Two Australian models have turned facing relentless trolling into a joint web-wide mission to work towards body positivity, and a deal with Sports Illustrated, nonetheless.
Kate Wasley and Georgia Gibbs have been friends for a very long time. The pair from Perth share many things – modelling, a love of food and the outdoors – and, for all intents and purposes, they look pretty similar on paper.
Try telling that to the Instagram keyboard warriors who were so unable to see past their body shapes, they accused Georgia of photoshopping her friend to look bigger to make herself appear thinner online.
Where it all started ^ We posted this picture online, just as best friends going out on the weekend, it got reposted a lot and the controversy started.. You have photoshopped yourself thinner or your friend bigger, what kind of friend are you? Was one of the comments, it broke my heart because Kate and I are best friends why would I do that? The fact that a simple picture of two people together went so viral purely because of their body types shocked me… and @any.body_co was created because no one should have to deal with that and it shouldn't even be acknowledged, all I see here is two women.. not one "skinny" woman and one "curvy" woman, stop comparing everyone to each other and accept every person as beautiful in their own right. #loveanyBODY
Georgia is a UK size 6 and Kate is a UK size 16, and some people think that means they can’t be friends, at least not visibly so, in the same square-shaped Instagram frame.
Thankfully, the folks over at Sports Illustrated disagree.
The Swimsuit Issue’s Instagram captioned this happy game-changing Boomerang:
It takes two! ? Our next #SISwim 2018 rookies are the definition of #FriendshipGoals, and we know you’re going to love them as much as we do!
The shoot, featuring the ‘BFFs turned Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models’ took place on Aruba, which the magazine dubbed ‘One Happy Island’.
Kate and Georgia’s editorial shots have just been released to rapturous applause from so-called plus sized models worldwide, as the pair follow in the footsteps of Ashley Graham, Gigi Hadid, Ronda Rousey and Serena Williams.
But their efforts don’t stop here:
…And life isn’t always a walk on the beach for Kate and Georgia.
Horrified by the ignorant implication that one friend’s shape was in some way more desirable or aspirational than the other – and, worse: that all women secretly wish the worst for each other – the pair decided to take action against damaging societal beauty perceptions.
Georgia recalled her response to the hateful comments, telling UNILAD:
People will always make assumptions and jump to conclusions! I was more concerned that rather than seeing a friendship people just saw two women and two different bodies.
My initial reaction was shock because I didn’t expect people to be so negative about two women they didn’t know.
Kate and Georgia have now started a social campaign called Any BODY to change the way we look at women’s bodies, and how we value certain aesthetics.
Along with the tagline ‘Love Any Body‘, the pair share an empowering message.
Speaking to UNILAD, Georgia added:
Any BODY was created because we were concerned at the way society and women looked at themselves, not to mention the endless comparisons women make to other women on social media. So, Any BODY was born really to bring back a little real into our social media world.
You can watch Kate and Georgia talk about their reaction to the trolling on This Morning below:
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Any BODY’s aim is to change the way women look at perfectionism and the way society views beauty. One day we want Kate and I to share the same catwalk and for that to be ‘normal’.
Really, it just takes a second to look around you on the street and see that mainstream marketing alienates a huge chunk of the population and that needs to change.
It’s not often that a healthy body is marketed to us in all different shapes and sizes.
Kate is determined to change that.
She told UNILAD that the trolling didn’t affect her as much as it hurt Georgia – who was essentially dubbed a mean girl.
Kate recalled her own reaction, saying:
I was just shocked at how people came to that conclusion in the first place… It just really ignited a fire in me that something had to be done regarding body image and including different body types side by side on social media.
I’m just representing myself and things that society labels as flaws. I want to show people that cellulite is normal, it can occur in bodies of any size.
Kate explained how Any BODY is challenging body-shaming one runway at a time:
Georgia walked with a beautiful bunch of girls at Miami swim week from all different sizes and backgrounds and we have plans to include more.
All of the Any BODY models work with clothing and swimwear brands – which fit all shapes and sizes – so their supporters can proudly display the inclusive message.
The self-confessed nature-lovers and outdoor fitness fanatics work out together to achieve their physiques, as individual as they are healthy.
Kate and Georgia – and their gym sessions – prove there is no ‘one size fits all’ option when it comes to health and beauty.
Kate herself was once a similar size to Georgia, but crash dieting on less than 800 calories a day as a teenage high school student left her battling her own body.
Now in womanhood, Kate told us she just wants ‘to show that health comes in a range of different shapes and sizes and that you can be comfortable with yourself no matter what beauty standards society throws at you’.
Kate admits to spending her formative years working against her natural and healthy body shape, sharing a health transformation post that flips the usual #TransformationTuesday trope on its head.
Welcome to my different kind of before and after: before left: after right. And before anyone jumps and tells me I was healthier on the left, here's why I wasn't and here is why I firmly believe that HEALTH COMES IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES. So in high school I was quite over weight, at least 8-10kgs heavier than I am now on the right. I used to get a lot of comments about how I'd be 'hot' if I lost weight and that I had such a pretty face etc. people weren't necessarily mean to my face but the little comments stung as I was only 17 and the way I looked and what people thought of me was still a big deal. So one day after a teacher told me I front of all my friends that I 'probably wasn't as fit as I could be' and the same teacher on a different occasion telling me I was a 'good wind block' for my cold friend, I decided it was time for a change and I was sick of people subtlety making me feel like shit, about my weight. I was never an overly self conscious teenager, subtle comments stung for a little bit and then I'd brush them off because I knew deep down that I was doing nothing for my health by eating pizza every day, drinking a litre of ice coffee and never exercising. Though this behaviour makes me cringe now because I know the effect that behaviour has on your insides, over all I was happy and I didn't really know where to start when it came to weight loss. So onto my weight loss story: I started dieting HARD. I spoke to a few of the girls in my year who I'd look at and think were absolutely STUNNING. Like never in a million years would I think they had to change anything or lose weight, but it's true that we are our own worst critic, maybe because of all the images of the 'one size fits all when it comes to health/beauty ' bs that we are fed every day via the media/social media, but that's for another post ;) So I got what I needed from these girls in my year and a quick google and started my very first diet that was the 'detox' it consisted of something ridiculous like 800 calories and a DISGUSTING juice with every meal that the cheap box and my one google search had convinced me was healthy and give me the body I desired…
It’s true we are our own worst critic, maybe because of all the images of the ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to health/beauty b.s. that we are fed every day via the media/social media…
Now Kate has learned to block out the white noise of other people’s judgement and can sleep easy ignoring hatred. Usually after spending her days running, boxing, surfing, and – of course – modelling to keep fit and active.
It just goes to show that body comparisons – and the inevitable consequence of shaming – are worthless, as long as you’re happy and healthy and have the love of pals who can help you battle haters.
As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Kate and Georgia – with the help from the increasingly-inclusive shoots over at Sports Illustrated – are leading by example.
After all, bodies are temporary but best friends are for life.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.