WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - People in the Port City and across the country are posting picture after picture of themselves on social media with no makeup on.
The message is clear.
"No one should ever be put down, no one should ever feel less than with or without makeup," said Isabella Gaines, Miss Greater Port City's Outstanding Teen.
Bella said the trend started after someone posted two pictures of her on Twitter, one with makeup and one without. The caption read: "This is the same person in both pics. Amazing what makeup can do."
"I was kind of hurt at first," said Gaines.
However, she didn't dwell on it and instead took to social media to post her own message in response, hoping someone else being bullied might see it and feel better.
"I was like I want to do something about this. I want to take a stand," said Gaines. "Maybe someone will see it out there, maybe it is just one person. That would be great if maybe I could help."
She never could have imagined what came next.
First, friend since age 10 and fellow pageant sister, Kenzie Hansley posted this message with her own makeup-free selfie. "You are beautiful both ways and I feel beautiful both ways too. Keep rocking the #nomakeupselfie."
"She had a picture with no makeup and then her headshot. And then my friend Ashley Daniels did it too and then the whole sisterhood of North Carolina. We are are so close and everyone just joined in," said Gaines. "Then someone started challenging everyone on Facebook to do it and was just tagging different people and it just spread across North Carolina."
Hansley said it was important for her to respond the way she did because she an anonymous poster has been cyberbullying her as well.
"I know it is uncomfortable when someone anonymously posts a negative message about you," Hansley said. "Bella didn't ask for us to post for her, but I felt the need to post a makeup-free selfie because I wanted Bella to feel confident and know she is beautiful without her makeup."
The message continued to spread across state lines.
"It went to California," Gaines said. "I had people there and Hawaii and Georgia, just all over sending the no makeup selfie challenge and I think it is amazing how big it went."
A big message that, just as Gaines had hoped, is making a difference.
"I got inboxes from people from Massachusetts and New York saying you are so inspiring and that it really helped me and that they were bullied too and they started sharing their stories with me," said Gaines. "It is just so amazing that everyone feel so empowered by it."