Summer is around the corner, which means by now many women are on extreme diets, or frantically crunching away at the gym to flatten that stomach in time for bikini season. I am all for being fit, active and healthy but I also think we women have a long way to go in loving our bodies, whether they are curvy, gangly, petite or tall. It’s about looking after your body in the best way, not about trying to change the way you look. Here’s the sad truth, if you don’t love yourself, you can be solid as a rock and you’ll still only see the flaws.
The media and advertisers play a big part in promoting certain body ideals, which is why I get super excited when I see adverts showing off all body shapes. Cotton On has just launched their new swimwear range, teaming up with Georgia Gibbs & Kate Wasley, two besties who have recently started a body positive movement, Any Body.
These girls decided to begin this movement after they posted a picture together and were met with judgement, comparison and criticism – with one being skinny and the other curvy. Many people assumed that Georgia had photoshopped herself to look thinner, or photoshopped Kate to look bigger and thereby make herself look better by comparison.
Now they continue to show off looks side by side, urging their followers to #LoveAnyBody, championing self-love and body acceptance. Since then their movement has gained massive online momentum, even getting shared by Khloe Kardashian.
So what are they all about?
Why did you create Anybody Co?
Georgia Gibbs: It was actually a really organic project that started from a beautiful friendship that Kate and I have. What was most shocking when we would post photos together, instead of people seeing that beautiful friendship and how much we love being in each other’s company, people would directly jump to our differences. So they would jump to our body shapes, or the size of our jeans instead of just appreciating a beautiful friendship and I think that’s what really sparked the creation of Any BODY.
How do you both keep happy & healthy?
Kate Wasley: I just believe that health is mental, emotional and physical; I guess they all kind of intertwine with each other. So I always make sure I’m around positive people and people I love. You know my friends and family, they are all really supportive of what I’m doing, which is so great; if I ever need to talk, they’re there. It’s nice to be around people that aren’t judgmental, you just feel like you can totally be yourself. Physically I love going for walks, I love boxing, and I love lifting weights as well. Keeping a balanced lifestyle, I find, is really good as well. I don’t count calories; I find that’s a pretty dangerous cycle to get into. Make healthy decisions and keep active.
What’s your positive body message?
GG: Our biggest positive body message would have to be quit the comparisons. You can see in mainstream media now people use models of all shapes and sizes but they don’t necessarily use them along side each other, it’s very rare. I think that’s what sparked the controversy, which has become Any BODY. That’s our biggest message – just quit the comparisons. Don’t look at other girls on social media and compare yourself; don’t look at your best friend or your sister and compare yourself. Because comparisons are the thief of joy and that’s what we want to change.
What’s your hope for the future in the modeling industry?
KW: I just hope that more girls in a variety of different shapes and sizes, that different genders and races are used in advertising and together. Because, so often you’ll see two plus size girls or two slim girls modeling together and you can’t really see the contrast. I mean you’ve just got to look around and see all the different body shapes.
What’s your message to young girls growing up in the world of social media?
GG: This is definitely a sore spot for me. My message to other young women growing in this social media generation is to quit the comparisons. I was growing up when Facebook and Instagram weren’t really a big deal and that was only a few years ago, so I can only imagine being 14 with all the pressures and being very impressionable and not being able to rationalize that the photos you see on social media are not real life…that it’s a shoot, I didn’t wake up like that. That’s what I really want to reinforce, don’t look at social media and believe that it’s real life, it’s not. You are beautiful just the way that you are.
When do you feel most empowered?
KW: This is probably a weird answer, but when I feel most empowered is probably when I’m at the beach in a bikini; because I’ve been through a phase where, you know, I was so self-conscious and even getting in a one piece swimsuit was a big deal for me. I remember, this is going back when I was a lot thinner than I am now, and I was like “oh my word, I would never wear a bikini…” and now you know I’m size 16 and I’ll just get in a bikini and I’m like “sweet, let’s go haha!”
The new range of swimwear from Cotton On follows this dream and offers a variety of cuts to flatter various body shapes.