Georgia Gibbs (left) and Kate Wasley
Chris Mohen/Courtesy Any Body Co.
Julie Mazziotta
May 12, 2017 06:32 PM

Model Georgia Gibbs innocuously shared a photo of a night out with best friend and fellow model Kate Wasley on Jan. 21, not expecting much of a reaction. So the pair was shocked when people accused Gibbs of photoshopping the image, or using Wasley to make herself look skinnier.

“It was eye opening how people reacted, being very quick to call the image ‘photoshopped’ instead of looking at it for what it was — two best friends having fun on a night out,” Gibbs, 23, tells PEOPLE.

The reaction made it clear to Gibbs and Wasley that people place too much of a value on appearance, and set out to change that with their body positive Instagram account, Any Body Co. (@any.body_co).

“After reading comments and questions from people I know, one of the most common was ‘Don’t you ever feel self-conscious being the bigger one?’ We want to change society’s beauty standards that smaller is better, when in reality neither is better than the other,” Wasley says to PEOPLE. “We think your health and wellbeing should be the priority.”

Wasley once restricted herself to eating only 800 calories a day because people would remark that she would be prettier if she lost weight, but she says she’s much happier now at a heavier weight.

“As we are promoting health over size, I really wanted to believe that your social and emotional health is equally as important as your physical health,” she says.

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…

A post shared by Any BODY 💗 (@any.body_co) on

The biggest problem with getting their message across, Wasley adds, is that people generally see just one body type on social media, so it’s hard to combat pressures to look a certain way.

“[Social media] is flooded every day with the ‘ideal,’ ‘flawless’ body,” she says. “Georgia and I are so passionate about ‘keeping it real’ that we wanted to flood people’s media feeds with a bit of diversity.”

RELATED VIDEO: Christie Brinkley Opens Up About Her Daughters & Their Body Diversity Inspiration

 

And the Perth, Australia-born models want to make an impact on modeling culture.

“We are hoping to change the game, not just our own modeling careers,” Wasley says. “Georgia and I hope to be advocates for women of all sizes being represented in the fashion industry together, in advertising, runway and size ranges.”

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