Why beauty pageant contestants are now posting their own #NoMakeupSelfies

It’s not a huge leap to say that when we think of beauty pageants, we think of makeup. Full-faces of makeup are such an important part of pageants that it is honestly rare to see contestants makeup-free. Well, that’s all changing thanks to a #NoMakeupSelfie craze that’s taking over social media in the pageant world.

This all started when 16-year-old pageant queen Isabella Gaines was a victim of some seriously cruel cyber-bullying. An anonymous Twitter account that seems dedicated to ripping apart North Carolina’s teen beauty pageant contestants (and boasts the profile, “the page where youll (sic) find the prettiest NCOT girls WITH NO MAKEUP! YUCK!”) posted the below images of Isabella; one with all her pageant makeup and one without.

Not the kindest way to interact with your fellow [wo]man. Isabella decided to take a moment and call out the cruelty of the post, taking to Instagram to post her own makeup-free pics and share a bit about what she stands for.

“Tonight I received a Twitter notification that directed me to a tweet I found to be offensive and degrading,” the caption reads. “I used to be very insecure about how I looked without makeup, but I am comfortable in my own skin and have accepted I am not flawless . . . ” Isabella’s post prompted her friend and competitor Kenzie Hansley to also post an image of herself with and without pageant makeup. She included the hashtag #NoMakeupSelfie. From there, things began to snowball. Soon, Kenzie and Isabella were joined by pageant contestants from around the country, all posting their own selfies and helping the girls to take a stand against cyber-bullying. It quickly spread to “the whole sisterhood of North Carolina. We are are so close and everyone just joined in,” Gaines told WNCN. “Then someone started challenging everyone on Facebook to do it and was just tagging different people and it just spread across North Carolina.” “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,” she told WNCN, “and they started sharing their stories with me.”