Becoming an Internet Meme
Benni Cinkle rose to Internet fame when she appeared in a YouTube music video that went viral, receiving over 200 million views. At first, Benni was ridiculed by millions around the world for her awkward dancing, often referred to as “That girl in pink that can’t dance.” They called her names, told her she should kill herself, and made gifs of her dancing, turning Benni into one of the most widely recognized Internet memes and earning her an entry into Urban Dictionary and the Internet Meme Museum.
Building a Platform for Charity
Instead of reacting defensively, Benni met their criticism with humor, honesty and understanding. Soon, anonymous bullies became fans and Benni's online reputation as an approachable, down-to-earth teen began to grow. In the months following her unexpected popularity, Benni received tens of thousands of requests for advice from teens around the world.
Realizing she had been gifted a platform that offered international reach, Benni decided to use her 15 minutes of fame for something positive. So she:
- Authored That Girl in Pink’s Internet Survival Guide, offering teens strategies for handling life online.
- Organized a flashmob dance to raise donations for American Red Cross Japan Earthquake Relief.
- Organized a walk for CFF that included hundreds of kids from 14 countries walking with her, virtually.
- Recorded her single, Can You See Me Now, and donated profits to TWLOHA and GLSEN.
- Visited schools across the U.S. delivering her Don’t Just Stand There anti-bullying presentation.
Benni has been honored with the following recognition:
- Featured as a role model on www.SixBillionSecrets.com.
- Chosen as a regular blogger for The Huffington Post.
- Received the 2012 Kids Curing Kids Award from Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
In September 2011, Benni released her first single and music video, Can You See Me Now. Inspired by the stories she read on an anonymous website, www.SixBillionSecrets.com, Benni wrote the song for teens dealing with bullying, abuse, depression, and self-harm. Proceeds go to charities that help these teens, like TWLOHA, and GLSEN. The single was added by over 30 radio stations and spun over 1200 times. It also charted at #30 in DJ Times.
In Summer 2012, Benni will release her second single and music video, Gotta Get Out. Benni loves this song because of its powerful message of hope.
That Girl in Pink Foundation
Today, Benni has her own non-profit organization, affectionately named That Girl in Pink Foundation, a 501c3 organization. She established TGIPF to better lend her support to the prevention of teen suicide, an issue that has affected her personally. Benni believes we lose too many kids to suicide and wants to change that by offering them more lifelines through empowerment, education and support.