Georgia Gibbs and her best friend Kate Wasley have been called every size imaginable.

Gibbs, a size 6, and Wasley, a size 16, are no stranger to criticism when it comes to their body shape - with both women receiving profuse critique for being "too fat, too thin, too curvy" or even "too muscular".

The pair struck social media stardom in January this year, after posting a photo standing side-by-side while on Sydney Harbour.

While it sounds like a pretty standard shot, the girls entered a firestorm of hate from strangers online who accused Gibbs of "photoshopping" the image so she appeared smaller than Wasley.

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"It looks like you've dragged your stomach inward slightly pulling your friend's stomach outwards," one person said on the image.

"It could just be the angle you're at, but I can see why people think it's photoshopped 100%. Sorry but I'm not sorry."

Speaking to news.com.au, both Gibbs and Wasley said they were "surprised" by the initial reaction to the photo - but have received body criticism throughout their life, so didn't let the response upset them initially.

"I've had every opinion on my body you can imagine," Gibbs, who is living in London, told news.com.au.

"One client will say I'm too big [size 6] and that same day, one said I'm too small, yet one client was for swim and the other was for lingerie.

"People might say Georgia is anorexic, and that (it's) great to use a real woman like me," Wasley added.

"But then on another page, there's all these comments saying I'm obese and unhealthy."

The uproar spurred the girls - both from Perth in WA - to start AnyBody Co, which they hope will promote body acceptance, and stop people from placing so much value on appearance.

Speaking to People magazine, Wasley said they hoped their account would "change society's beauty standards".

"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?'," Wasley told the magazine.

"We want to change society's beauty standards that smaller is better, when in reality neither is better than the other. We think your health and wellbeing should be the priority."

In 2014-15, almost two in three Australian adults were overweight or obese, an increase of 19 per cent from 1995.

Kate Wasley, left, says she's much healthier at a 16 than she was at a size 12. Photo / News Corp Australia
Kate Wasley, left, says she's much healthier at a 16 than she was at a size 12. Photo / News Corp Australia

And while the movement to accept all body shapes is rife, the body positive movement's mantra - "healthy comes in many sizes" - has been challenged by a groundbreaking new study.

Earlier this month, researchers at University of Birmingham's Institute of Applied Health Research looked at public health records of 3.5 million Brits over a 20-year period, and compared weight and metabolic status to the risk cardiovascular disease.

The study showed that people who are overweight but fit, are actually not healthy at all.

People who are "metabolically healthy obese" - those who are obese but not suffer from conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol - still have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, compared to people who are of a "normal" weight, the study found.

Speaking to the study, Ms Wasley said that she's never been healthier than she is today.

"I've been so many different sizes and I can tell you now I am so much healthier at a 16 than I was at a 12," she said.

Plus-size model Kate Wasley and Georgia Gibbs hope their social media page will promote diverse body acceptance. Photo / News Corp Australia
Plus-size model Kate Wasley and Georgia Gibbs hope their social media page will promote diverse body acceptance. Photo / News Corp Australia

"I think the study is stupid, because when I was a 12, I used to run 10km three times a week.

I was so fit, but I was still a 12 which is considered to be a large in clothing.

"People would look at me and consider me overweight but reality was I wasn't.

"People who say I'm unhealthy have no idea what I do in my day to day life. They are simply making an assumption and uninformed opinion based on a photo."

Following the initial criticism around the alleged "photoshop post" - Gibbs and Wasley have collected more than 217k followers.

The pair, who are the faces of Cotton on Body's Swim campaign, 'Go To Your Summer Place', hope that their social page will influence more women to be accepting of diverse body shapes.

"Having us in this campaign was an amazing experience, especially because I didn't know they catered for women above a size 12," Gibbs said.

"It's really exciting that a mainstream brand that's everywhere in Australia is using plus sized models."

The Cotton On Body swimwear 'Go To Your Summer Place' range is available in store and online nationwide from $9.95