Why This Lingerie Photo of Two ‘Very Different’ Best Friends Is Important

A photo of two besties — one slim, the other plus-size — is making a powerful statement about friendship.

Anna O’Brien, 32, who blogs under the name Glitter and Lazers, posted the image of the two women sitting side by side wearing a red ModCloth bra-and-underwear set. She captioned the photo, “This is my best friend. She wears the smallest size in this bralette set and I wear almost the largest. We are very very very different.”

She added, “And people often only see our differences. … It makes me sad how many amazing women miss out on knowing each other because they let something so simple as physical appearance cloud who they think a person is. Sure Nikki and I don’t look alike. Heck we don’t always think alike, but the things that we have in common have bonded us forever and I am so, so grateful to have her in my life. Take chances in getting to know others, move past your perceptions, and I promise you will be rewarded with some amazing friendships you never thought possible.”

Body size isn’t the only difference between the friends of two years. One is blonde, the other has her brunette hair shaved on the side and is adorned with multiple, colorful tattoos. “Nikki’s a stay-at-home mom of three and a vegan, and I’m neither,” O’Brien tells Yahoo Beauty. “But we both love bright colors and sparkles, and are advocates for social change.”

The pair, who shot the photo in Las Vegas, love dressing alike, and in order to match, they seek clothing brands that carry diverse sizes. “We had a friend who is a photographer shoot us during the last five minutes of a yoga class,” says O’Brien. The quickie session received almost 21,000 likes and more than 500 comments calling the duo “inspiring” and “stunning.”

It’s a reaction that differs drastically from that engendered by a viral photo posted earlier in March that depicted two friends of contrasting body sizes. In the image of Aussie models Georgia Gibbs (a size 6 model) and her best friend, Kate Wasley (a size 16 model), the pair stand arm in arm overlooking a body of water. The image is a happy snapshot of their loving friendship; however, Instagram commenters promptly accused Gibbs of airbrushing the image to appear thinner in a “body shaming” move.

In response to the negative feedback, Gibbs and Wasley created a joint Instagram account called @any.body_co to illustrate the depth of their bond and to promote the idea that friendship should be free of competition.

“@any.body_co was created because no one should have to deal with that and it shouldn’t even be acknowledged,” Gibbs wrote in a caption. “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.”

Despite the powerful visuals in O’Brien’s photo, she insists that her body is only a tool to convey a more important message. “I don’t equate my size to who I am,” she says. “We’re all storage units, but everyone has a different container. It’s what’s on the inside that matters.”

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