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Perth, Australia-based models Kate Wasley, 22, and Georgia Gibbs, 21, are best friends on a body-confidence mission.
The two women have been close for years and have regularly posted shots of each other on their individual Instagram accounts.
In January, though, an innocent pic posted by Gibbs that emphasized their different body shapes went viral. In the snapshot, Wasley and Gibbs are laughing together while posing in front of a harbor at sunset:
A post shared by GEORGIA MAE (@georgiagibbs_) on Jan 21, 2017 at 6:53pm PST
The image was widely reposted, Gibbs told Sportluxe in an interview on Wednesday, and some commenters accused her of Photoshopping the image to make her bestie look bigger. Surprised by the reaction, the pair, who work out together, eat together, and even “sing to Beyoncé with all the windows down” together, were taken aback that their size difference garnered such attention — Gibbs is a size 8 in Australia, or a U.S. size 4, and Wasley is an Australian size 16, or a U.S. size 12.
But the friends were eager to use their newfound Insta-fame to do something positive — something body positive.
The pair launched a new Instagram account, Any Body, aimed at illustrating that when it comes to fun and friendship, size is utterly irrelevant — and more brands worldwide would be wise to recognize that in their advertising campaigns.
“The fact that a simple picture of two people together went so viral purely because of their body types shocked me,” Gibbs wrote beneath a reposting of that original picture. “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.”
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
A post shared by Any Body ???? (@any.body_co) on Mar 14, 2017 at 7:58am PDT
“The controversy blew my mind,” Gibbs told Sportluxe. “In retrospect, society just wasn’t used to seeing a size eight and a size 16 next to each other in a photo.” But that’s when the duo decided to get proactive. “What better to do than create something positive out of this situation and try and change the way women look at each other and the way society looks at todays [sic] modern woman,” she explained.
The Internet is unabashedly into the body positive besties’ message. Since its launch five days ago, the account has amassed more than 37,000 followers, has garnered a staggering 12,800,000 views, and has been flooded with positive comments of support from people who feel connected to Georgia and Kate’s message of acceptance.
A post shared by Any Body ???? (@any.body_co) on Mar 11, 2017 at 9:58pm PST
“Keep motivating love it!” wrote one follower. “Brilliant work ladies!” posted another. “There should be more of the two of you. I love your message and thank you for putting it out there. You both are beautiful,” added still another.
Others used the forum to share their personal experiences with a similar sentiment: “Love it girls! My sister and I are the exact same. Completely different body shapes and it absolutely infuriates me when the first thing people say when I show them a photo of my gorgeous sister (seriously though she got the looks in the fam haha) is oh she’s nothing like you,” agreed @kirsty_mannie.
A post shared by Any Body ???? (@any.body_co) on Mar 15, 2017 at 3:50am PDT
The two friends worked with fashion and lifestyle photographer Chris Mohen to create a series of photos that they are posting alongside inspiring messages in the hopes of reaching both brands and everyday women, who the friends feel could generally stand to be a little more positive about themselves.
A post shared by Any Body ???? (@any.body_co) on Mar 10, 2017 at 2:14pm PST
“We are hoping that women will be kinder to themselves, that the majority of brands will appeal to a broader audience and change their marketing, and we are hoping that we all learn to stop comparing ourselves to one another and appreciate ourselves as more than just physical beings,” Gibbs explained to Sporteluxe. “Our aim [is to promote] health over size.”
And in that, dear friends, your aim is true.
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