Renee Somerfield, the genetically-blessed Australian model starring in a controversial new weight loss advert, has responded to the backlash against the campaign.
The yellow Protein World ad, currently plastered all over billboards around the London Underground, features a bikini-clad Renee next to text reading 'ARE YOU BEACH BODY READY?'
The sight of the 24-year-old's toned figure towering above train platforms has caused a stir among some feminists and body image campaigners, with a change.org petition started, general social media outrage and defacing of the posters by bloggers, angry at the perceived insinuation that only women who look like Renee are ready to go to the beach.
Online fitness store Protein World, who claim that the image is entirely unPhotoshopped, have been actively engaging in the furore on social media, strongly defending their campaign with some biting responses to aggrieved Tweeters.
"We are a nation of sympathisers for fatties," a spokesperson for Protein World tweeted to one user after she signed the change.org petition calling for the removal of the advert. "Why make your insecurities our problem?"
One critic of the ad has inspired her own hashtag - #growupharriet - as the company responded to her request about whether she, as a normal woman, was allowed on the beach with a collage of fitness magazine covers and the cheeky hashtag.
A Facebook campaign group has been set to question the term "beach body ready" and followers have been adding image slamming the ad:
Now the blonde at the centre of the summer body storm has responded to the
"contradictory" drama, with a very level-headed argument citing the irony of people getting angry about body shaming, whilst body shaming her.
The vegan fitness fanatic told Huffington Post: "I think nearly every ad campaign you have ever seen is open to interpretation. But saying the ad is body shaming by body shaming the image is very contradictory. Two wrongs don't make a right."
Renee, who is a strict vegan, said: "I am a real person behind the image. I work very hard and live a healthy and active lifestyle which is why Protein World chose me for their campaign. I couldn't work every day as a full time model by starving myself, dieting or not looking after my body. Nourish your body, be kind to it and it will love you right back, no matter your size.
"I agree that all bodies are 'beach body ready'. Skinny, curvy, muscular, petite, tall, short, young and old. Confidence is beautiful no matter what size you are.... Your reflection doesn't define your worth."
Fans - including hundreds of women - were been quick to praise the leggy beauty for her response, posting messages of support to her Twitter and Instagram accounts.
The cover girl has made a career out of sharing sexy bikini-clad selfies with her 430,000 Instagram followers, and was featured on the cover of Maxim Australia magazine in a shoot titled "Australia's sexiest social media stars" in 2014.
She admits to working out four to five times per week, including beach running and pilates with weights, and told website Glamour Edition that she has always been on the skinny side: "My physique is naturally very petite and I am quite tall (5'10). Growing up, this felt very awkward but I have grown to love and embrace my body!"
"I work hard to keep my body looking healthy and fit, which means eating 6+ times a day and working out with resistance and weights to make sure I maintain lean muscle... I don't like looking too skinny!
"Confidence comes from how you feel. I feel my best and my most confident when I am fit and toned.... I love moving, being strong and always full of energy. I think there is definitely a noticeable difference between 'skinny-toned' and 'skinny-soft' - you know when a girl works for her body!" she added.
- Daily Mail