Renee Somerfield (slated model on the controversial 'Beach Body Ready' ads) hits back at body shamers
Published 03/05/2015 | 10:55
When model Renee Somerfield accepted the booking from Protein World, little did she realise she would suddenly be subjected to international backlash and vile abuse.
As she would with any other job, the Australian swimsuit model donned her yellow bikini for the recent shoot and thought nothing more of it.
However, once the campaign was run with the accompanying 'Are You Beach Body Ready' slogan, Renee found herself at the centre of a major controversy.
When the ads were placed in London's Underground, women began to deface them, tear them down and stage protests beside them.
Quickly, an online petition garnered 50,000 signatures who believed that the Protein World advertisement was "fat shaming" women and it was subsequently banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.
Read more: Katie Hopkins wades in to beach body row
The 23-year-old was at the receiving end of thousands of messages accusing her of promoting anorexia and slamming her for being "too skinny", "unrealistic" and "unnatural".
The Sydney native has now broken her silence and hit back at the vitriol sent her way by online bullies.
"To call someone anorexic is super-nasty. It's a disease and it kills.
"It's ridiculous to diagnose anyone as having that if you don't know them. Some of the comments have been hurtful but most have just been frustrating. People don't understand," she told the Sun.
"My stomach has always been tiny and I've always been super slim," the model said of her 22-inch waist.
"A lot of people who targeted the ad said I was body shaming fat people. But it's not fair to body-shame me in response," Renee retaliated.
Aside from aiming abuse at the young model, Protein World also said it was on the receiving end of nasty complaints and even bomb threats from angry consumers.
In Renee's defence, controversial columnist Katie Hopkins wrote, "Chubsters, quit vandalising Protein World ads and get your arse running on the road. Feminism isn't an excuse for being fat."
Speaking about her own approach to health and fitness, Maxim covergirl Renee said she exercises "when she can".
"I love going on runs and riding my bike. I try to exercise three times a week."
Renee follows a vegan diet and said she has never been one to count calories but does strive to eat mostly healthy foods.
"There used to be pressure to conform to body types like me. But now women can be whatever they want. We need to embrace every body type.
"Whether you are beach body ready or not comes down to confidence, not what you look like," she concluded.