A new day is all about the start of Mura’s new journey. This journey is going to focus on inspiring a community to promote a healthy lifestyle, body AND mind. We want to encourage self-love, positivity, and celebrate the diversity of women, each of us as strong and beautiful as the next. The first step of our journey is our lookbook, A New Day, with Kate and Georgia from Any Body Co. We had a heart to heart with these two beautiful girls and found out what started the Any Body Co. movement, and their inspiring journey towards a happy and healthy mindset.
How did you both meet and how did Any Body Co start?
Kate: Georgia and I met through mutual friends in Perth and really connected when I moved to Sydney. We were both new to Sydney and modelling, and all the pressures that come with that. Any Body Co started because we posted a photo together on Instagram and people commented on the photo saying that Georgia had photo shopped herself skinnier and me larger. People tagged their friends saying that if they posted a photo like that they would kill them. We were so shocked that people couldn’t accept that that’s who we are and what we look like! That started us talking about people’s obsession with how they look on social media. We’re both so passionate about body image, so we began brainstorming and came up with Any Body Co and decided that it was a really strong and powerful idea. We posted our first official photo on Any Body Co for International Women’s Day and it went crazy! Within an hour it had over 10,000 likes. We didn’t plan for it to get that big!! The feedback was incredible, we only received about 1% of negativity out of a sea of positivity. We were so excited!!
Georgia: It’s amazing because what started as a really genuine and authentic project has now progressed into a kind of movement. We have girls telling us everyday that we have changed the way that they see themselves. That’s all I ever wanted! I’ve been at that point where I was really unhappy in myself and I’ve seen my sisters and friends there, and I think what we’re doing is so relevant with social media currently driving for perfectionism more than ever.
You talk a lot about mindset on your Instagram and how important it is. What does a happy and healthy mindset mean to you both and how do you achieve it?
Kate: A healthy mindset is a journey and it’s something that I constantly work on. When I was 17, I was so insecure, I hated myself. I was extremely self-conscious and embarrassed to say that I was a large. I realised that I needed to stop comparing myself to the woman next to me, and that I needed to appreciate me for me. Now I can say that I’m a size 16, this is me and I’m happy with who I am. I’m beyond grateful to be at this point at 23 because I know it takes some people their whole lives. I’m only human, I still have those days where I doubt myself but I don’t dwell on it and I move past it. I’m healthy, I’m enjoying my life and having fun! For me, my friends and the guy I’m going to spend the rest of my life with will love me for who I am, not how I look. It’s about putting things into perspective, and at the end of the day that’s what I remind myself of. I’m very health focused, I study nutrition and health promotion and it’s all about finding a balance when we promote being healthy. You need to focus on your mental health and work towards loving yourself. Once that happens your body will follow and you’ll radiate positivity and have a better quality of life.
Life is full of ups and downs, have either of you ever been through a particularly difficult period of time in your life that you turned around, and if so how did you do that?
Kate: From 17-20 I had really bad body image issues. I was quite overweight and had an extremely unhealthy diet and I never exercised, but I had no knowledge of health or nutrition so I didn’t understand that what I was doing was bad for me. People would say to me that I had a pretty face but I’d be so much ‘hotter’ if I was skinnier. I wanted to change my life so I looked on the Internet and spoke to other girls in my high school and heard about the latest fad: the 800 -1200 calorie shake diet. Desperate to lose weight I tried it and lost weight really quickly because something like that just isn’t enough to sustain someone of my height and build. People started noticing how much weight I was losing and I got so many compliments saying how amazing I looked. It was like because I was skinny people were all of a sudden noticing me and I loved it. All the attention and comments on my weight fuelled me on and I became even more body conscious and obsessed. I would start to focus on different areas of my body like my hips and that would become my new ‘problem area’. I became really harsh on myself and the whole situation started to affect my relationships. I stopped hanging out with my friends, I wouldn’t even go out for dinner with my boyfriend. I thought I would be happier because of all the weight I’d lost but I was miserable. I had such a low quality of life. My weight ended up plateauing because my body couldn’t sustain itself on that diet. It wasn’t until I did a personal training course and studied nutrition that it all kind of hit me and I was like ‘Oh god! What was I doing to myself?!’ I went on these diets because I hated myself and I hated my body. I got down to a size 12 which for my height I looked quite thin, but that is still considered a large by so many Australian brands, and at that age when I was extremely insecure I was so embarrassed. I’m so passionate about healthy body image. I don’t want people to feel the way that I did and let it affect their lives, so I’m taking what I went through and my knowledge of nutrition and health to help people. I preach health!! It’s such a massive priority, but along with that is also emotional and mental health. If you promote a healthy mind it hugely reflects on your body and emotions.
Georgia: I was bullied a lot in high school! At that age I looked up to celebrities and models particularly Jennifer Hawkins, the ‘Australian Bombshell’. She was such an inspiration for me because of the profile she created for herself. I started modelling so that I could create that kind of profile and have more of an influence over people’s thoughts and opinions. My modelling career has never been smooth though. I’ve been told that my body is the right size but the wrong shape, and because of that I would never be a successful model. What can you do about having the wrong body shape?! I spent years trying to change the shape of my body by eating less, eating more, excessive training and not training at all. It was crazy!! It made me so self-aware and had a negative effect on me mentally. People ask me how I can be a positive body advocate when I’m considered as the ‘ideal body’, but even though the public may think this, in the fashion industry every single part of you is scrutinised and by so many my body isn’t considered ‘ideal’. I have a client that wants me to drop a size and another client that wants me to gain a size. People have a weird perception on body image, like they assume that Kate would be insecure standing next to me or that she wouldn’t wear tight clothing because of her shape, but you know what? Kate looks best in tight clothes! She embraces her curves! People say that I have it easy in our friendship because of my size and that I’m not insecure or have body image issues. They can have these views and assume these things about us but it all comes down to personal perspective. These warped views and perceptions on body image is what we’re trying to change! Don’t let anyone else’s criticism hinder your self-love. You need to have a virtual trampoline and let it bounce off you and just radiate sunshine!
What do you dream for the future of Any Body Co?
Kate: I want to continue inspiring girls to feel good about themselves.
Georgia: One day I dream of Kate and I walking down the runway together, a size 8 AND a size 16.
What do you do to ensure that people’s backlash and hurtful comments about your images on Any Body Co doesn’t get you down?
Kate: I remind myself that they don’t know who I am in the real world, they have no idea of my routines and if I’m healthy or not. Who are they to comment?! I know in myself that I’m healthy and happy with who I am. I am so much more than my appearance.
Georgia: We know that we have good intentions, and we are so passionate about what we’re trying to achieve! People have made comments about Any Body Co saying that it’s all self-promotion. We could let those comments get to us and make us feel insecure but all the positivity that we receive overrides everything. We receive messages from fathers saying that we’re the type of inspiration that he hopes his daughter looks up to when she grows up. Women of all ages message us saying that we’ve changed their lives!! Reading those kinds of comments is incredible. It makes everything worth it and I would choose what we’re doing with Any Body Co over anything.
From everything you’ve worked towards so far, what is the biggest life lesson you’ve each individually learnt?
Kate: Don’t ever take people’s opinions to heart. Stay strong and don’t give up! Do what you’re passionate about and whatever you’re working towards will happen!
Georgia: I have learnt so many life lessons!! A big one for me is to never let yourself be hindered by someone else trying to put you down. When someone is negative towards you it’s usually about their own securities, and it reflects more on them than it does you. It’s so easy to take it personally and let it make you feel bad but you just can’t. People will try and bring you down when they see that you’re doing well but you always have to remind yourself of what you’re doing and kick on!
You’ve both already started changing people’s perception on body comparison, what else do you think needs to change in the industry?
Kate: Last night at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week (MBFW) we were watching the Sass & Bide show and we loved the diversity of race and ages of models but everyone was a size 8. It’s amazing that they were tapping into that kind of diversity but where was the size diversity?! And the inconsistency in Australian sizing is terrible! I wore Misha to MBFW and they had to really search to find a size 14 sample for me because they only stock up to a size 12. The dress was incredible but I could barely sit down in it! It was wearable to get photos in but that was pretty much it. So many brands don’t have a diverse size range and if they do the clothing looks like a potato sack! I want the same styles that a size 8 would wear for a size 16! People assume that we would be ashamed and wouldn’t want to show off our body but that’s not the case!! I don’t want to hide myself, I’m proud of who I am and I want to show off my curves and feel sexy! I have gone shopping and fit into a size 10, and when you think about the difference between a size 10 and size 16, that shouldn’t fit me. It also has the opposite effect where a large is too small! Imagine girls with bad body image issues going shopping and trying on a large and it being too small because of these inconsistencies. I used to be so ashamed admitting to shop assistants that I couldn’t fit into a large. It’s time for a change!
Georgia: As a model that is considered a ‘standard’ size in the fashion industry preaching to clients and brands about the industry’s warped perception of body image and how it needs to change is really helping!! They’re not hearing it from a curvier sized model like Kate, they’re hearing it from me whose body is more widely accepted! Any Body Co isn’t just about embracing one type of size or body shape, one ethnicity over the other, it’s about embracing all women and being relatable to all women. That’s what I’m trying to tell the fashion industry! That’s the point we’re promoting to everyone!
As two young women determined to make a change in society for the better, do you have any advice for other young women?
Kate: It’s so much easier said than done, but stop comparing yourself because I guarantee you that the girl you think is beautiful/stunning/ ‘goals’, has insecurities too. Just do you and don’t worry about other people. Self-confidence and body love is a journey that Georgia and I are still on, and I think that everyone is because your body is constantly changing and ageing, and you are constantly coming to terms with that. You can’t be hard on yourself. If you’re not 100% body positive, don’t beat yourself up about it because it’s step by step, day by day. Go easy on yourself, you’re only human. It’s just about trying to accept and love yourself for who you are.
Georgia: The biggest thing, particularly for younger generations, is that Instagram is not real life and we need to stop comparing ourselves to it. We see these beautiful lifestyle and beauty/body photos but this is a split second and often times isn’t the true story. We see these photos everyday and are becoming more self critical and obsessed than ever. Of course you’re not going to post your worst photos on social media and that’s okay, but it’s about keeping grounded and not getting caught up in it. We’re so young and impressionable and it’s so easy to compare and think why isn’t my life like that?! Or why don’t I look like that?! You believe that if you don’t have that life or look a certain way that you can’t be happy, but you are perfect the way you are and individuality is something to be celebrated, not to be ashamed of.
Check out our ‘A New Day’ lookbook behind the scenes with Georgia and Kate from Any Body Co. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_qi7_auN5g
This is huge step for Mura! We are SO excited to share this moment and journey with you. We hope to inspire and empower you. ‘We rise by lifting others.’