The Bachelor stars hit back at lurking photographer who snapped them in their bikinis.

The latest round of The Bachelor contestants have become accustomed to life in the public spotlight since the show aired on Channel 10 a few months ago.

And while all newfound fame has its perks, senseless criticism in the media can be difficult to escape.

So when Rachael Gouvignon, 31, and Faith Williams, 26, went on a Bali getaway last week to a private villa with other ex-contestants, they thought they were safe from the prying eyes of the Australian paparazzi.

But this week they woke up one morning to discover a lurking photographer had snapped unflattering photos of them in bikinis, and published them on a major news site.

Not just that, but the women were accused of not being “real” in the poolside photos they posted on social media, with side-by-side comparisons of the paparazzi and Instagram images.

The cruel sentiment did not go unnoticed by readers, with one describing it as “peak bitchy” on Twitter.

Gouvignon and Williams have now spoken of their shock.

“I was absolutely mortified. I had been at a private villa and had no idea,” Gouvignon told Mamamia.

“I’d like to see someone sit in that position, not knowing a camera is around, and look their best.”

Perth’s Gouvignon said she had “built a stronger backbone” after appearing on The Bachelor, but this article stooped too low not to have an impact.

“It’s hurtful knowing this is up there for life, circulating the internet,” she said.

“When it comes to your body, it’s a really sensitive topic. I know I’ve struggled with body issues as I’m sure many women have, so when someone is critiquing how you look, it hurts.”

Williams, from Queensland, said it was the first article she’d seen that “doesn’t just attack us personally but also contributes to a larger problem of body shaming.”

“Media giants like The Daily Mail have such a large audience that they could be using their platform to promote positive body image, but instead they use it to bring other women down and I just don’t get why? It’s just mean,” she said.

Faith's one bikini photo on Instagram from Bali.

Gouvignon and Williams shut down insulting suggestions they were being fake or using Photoshop on their pictures.

They stressed that they, like just about every other woman, did not deserve to be shamed for making minor tweaks to look their best in photos: whether with filters, pose angles, camera exposure or taking a few pictures to get the perfect one.

This might be especially true with bikini photos.

"It was very daunting because I'm exposing my body to 23,000 (Instagram) followers," Gouvignon said. "People should be able to feel comfortable in who they are as a person. So what if you put a filter on a photo? As long as you feel good."

Williams agreed: "No matter your body shape, it takes a lot of courage to post a swimwear shot."

"That we’re ‘not real’ is ludicrous. It’s no secret that I put weight on while in the house and since being out, I’ve been able to focus on my eating and fitness again and although nobody is perfect, I love my body, curves and all."

Williams said she was concerned about the message such vicious coverage was sending to other women.

"Everyone knows that social media is where you show the highlights of what’s going on in your life, so of course I’m going to share photos where I’m enjoying life and I feel confident," she explained.

"I don’t think I’ve ever really thought about posting a photo on my Insta with a double chin... Have you?"

Williams also didn't want to let any publication "get away being horrible" or insinuate it was "not OK to post photos that make you feel confident."

"We need to build each other up, not bring each other down," she concluded. Amen to that.

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