Meet The 18 Y/O Female Student Behind The No Makeup Selfie Phenomenon


It is the latest viral craze to sweep social media. The ‘No Makeup Selflie’ phenomenon has seen almost every woman around the world post photos of themselves sans makeup, in a bid to raise both money and awareness for cancer research. Celebs such as Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian, lady Gaga and Gwyneth Paltrow have participated, upping the ante for this important cause.

But where did this all start and who was the mastermind behind all of this? An 18 year old girl from the UK called Fiona Cunningham. The single mom and criminal psychology student created a Facebook page called No Make Up Selfie For Cancer Awareness on March 18 from her home in Staffordshire, and never expected the cause to grow as huge as it did. She asked people to post pictures onto the page and donate to Cancer Research UK.

In just a few days after launching the page, she received over 260,000 likes and had to enlist the help of 12 of her friends to help sort through the masses of photos they were receiving!

Just 4 days after launching the campaign, Cancer Research UK announced they received £2million in donations as a direct result of the facebook campaign. Whoa!

Fiona says she started the campaign after losing a close member to cancer, and got the idea for the no makeup selfies after seeing so many women post selfies online in solidarity for actress Kim Novak who was openly mocked by the media for her appearance at the Academy Awards in March.


“The no-makeup selfie craze really captured my imagination and I was amazed at the response from people around the world and just thought how great it would be if it could be done for charity. After seeing nothing similar on Facebook or Twitter, I thought there was something in it that it could raise awareness of cancer,” she told the Daily Mail.

Fiona’s fiance, Carl, 26 also had a close family member die from cancer so it was something that was very close to their hearts.

“A few of my family members have had breast cancer and unfortunately one of them didn’t make it. Carl’s grandma also passed away from it so therefore it is quite close to home for us. I set up the Facebook group and encouraged to send in their selfies with a hasthtag linking it to Cancer Research UK. I thought a few people would join in and donate money, mainly my friends, but I was shocked when the page went global.”

It’s so cool to see a millennial woman using the power of social media to make a change globally. The fact that it challenges a lot of women to go without something that gives us a false sense of confidence is an added bonus to this genius movement.

“So many women wear makeup and none of us really need it. The women who have done it are all so brave in a world that expects us all to wear makeup constantly,” she said.

Because Fiona’s campaign for women was so popular, the Prostate Cancer UK organization decided to create a male version. They asked men to post pics of themselves actually wearing makeup, and donate to their campaign which they called ‘Men United’.

man-up-and-make-up“Men United took its inspiration from the fantastic success of the breast cancer awareness campaign and it’s no surprise that women have inspired men again here,” said a spokesperson from Prostate Cancer UK.

“It is fantastic that social networking is being used so positively and we are still seeing money roll in. This is what our campaign Men United is all about – men using their camaraderie and creativity to do something individually and together about a killer disease.”Men who bravely took photos of themselves with makeup posted them to the Prostate Cancer #manupandmakeup Facebook page.

And to think it was the smarts of a teen girl with a computer who started this phenomenon! To date over £8 million has been donated to Cancer Research UK thanks to Fiona’s campaign.

“We didn’t start the trend, but we want to say a massive THANK YOU! to each and every one of you who got involved and donated to our work alongside your photo – all you gorgeous bare-faced women, all you men who plastered on the slap, the with-makeup selfies from the ladies who don’t normally wear it, all the kids and pets who joined in too, the guys with their socks and everyone else. You’re all amazing, and we can’t thank you enough.” says the organization in an online statement, where they explained exactly where the money will go.

Isn’t it encouraging to know that all of us have the power to create something world-changing with the resources we have at our fingertips? We have no excuses not to do something positive today.


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