Like many young women, student Ashley VanPevenage, suffers from acne.
So when a before and after make-up photo of her appeared on Instagram, she was left utterly shocked at what happened next.
The 20 year old, from Tacoma, Washington, allowed a friend of hers who runs an Instagram make-up account, @makeupbydreigh, to post a before and after makeover photo of her on the picture-sharing site.
She told Buzzfeed News: ‘I was having this allergic reaction to benzoyl – I needed help to cover my acne.’
The picture received hundreds of likes as well as plenty of encouraging comments from other users. One wrote: ‘She’s gorgeous without makeup just saying,’ while another said, ‘It’s all what on the inside.’
A few days later, the photo cropped up on Twitter account @virtuallyvivi captioned, ‘I don’t understand how people can do this and I can’t figure out how to conceal a single pimple on my face.’
[Twitter]https://twitter.com/virtuallyvivi/status/564879198871769089?lang=en-gb[/Twitter]From there, other Twitter followers picked up the photo and it started doing the rounds online as a meme.
Five days later, a Twitter user called @H_Menace, posted the photo of Ashley’s face on photo sharing site Moby Picture. He captioned it: ‘The reason why you gotta take a bitch swimming on the first date.’
The photo made its way into several viral lists of women who should be ‘taken swimming on the first date’ with similar before and after make-up photos of other young women. The meme was retweeted hundreds of thousands of times, attracting comments such as, ‘This is why I have trust issues,’ and, ‘At least she’s hot in make up.’
After all that, you’d think that all that Ashley would want to do would be curl up and hide – but no.
After posting a video response to the cruel meme, she’s been praised for speaking out and addressing her critics – in the most perfect way.
She titled the video My response to my viral Meme and writes, ‘This is my response to the public, this is me.’
The honest video is a reminder that there is a real person on the other side of the screen, reading all of those hurtful comments.
She says, ‘People’s opinions don’t matter to me, and they shouldn’t matter to anyone. Everyone should feel beautiful in their natural skin and it doesn’t matter what’s on the outside.’
‘Feel confident about who you are,’ she adds.
Ashley, we think you’re beautiful – and we commend you for silencing the trolls!