Wilmington teen takes a stand against cyberbullying
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington beauty contestant took a stand against cyber bullying by creating a hashtag that has since gone viral. Bella Gaines, New Hanover High School student and current Miss Great Port City’s Outstanding Teen, said this is not the first time she has been cyberbullied, and she took to the same social media site she was bullied on to turn it into a positive.
Gaines said she was attacked by an anonymous person on Twitter criticizing her without makeup. The person posted a photo of her with and without make up.
“I saw it, and I was kind of hurt at first,” Gaines said. “They tagged me in the Tweet, ‘This is same person in both pictures. It’s amazing what makeup can do.'”
Instead of being upset, Gaines decided to post another picture of herself without makeup with the hashtag #NoMakeupSelfie.
Gaines told WWAY she woke up to hundreds of direct messages, Facebook messages and tags supporting her in her stand against the cyberbully.
“It was completely crazy, because I just posted my post about being comfortable in your skin. You know everyone is made in God’s image, and I just went to bed that night and woke up with like a 150 Facebook notifications, my Facebook blowing up, just completely overwhelmed by all the people that felt empowered to post a no makeup selfie,” Gaines said.
“That’s my friend, and I don’t want anyone to ever down somebody because of the way they look, but I think she responded in a very positive way,” said Gaines’s friend Olivia Cousey.
While Gaines has her friends in her corner, she has also gained support from Miss America and other media figures.
Erin Bohonicky, a parent of a young girl who dances at the same studio as Gaines, said it’s the little ones who look up to her that makes this #NoMakeupselfie campaign so important.
“There’s a lot of pressure put on them, I think, for them to be pretty and fit in with everybody, and so I think when you have an older person to show them that is OK to wear makeup or not wear make up. They’re pretty either way,” Bohonicky said.
And that’s exactly the message Gaines wants to spread.
“You don’t have to take it. You can put an end to it. You can take a stand,” she said.
Gaines said she’s gotten support and encouragement from all over the country and all over the world.
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