James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Bare-skin selfies: Donations flood in

Jessie Williams of Rotorua tweeted for all who have fought or are fighting breast cancer.
Jessie Williams of Rotorua tweeted for all who have fought or are fighting breast cancer.

The no-makeup-selfie hashtag that went viral in the UK has seen donations flood in for the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.

The campaign - which helped the Cancer Research UK charity to raise more than 1 million pounds ($1.93 million) in just over a day, with both women and men making donations to a text number when posting their selfies - started last Tuesday.

It asks women to post photos of themselves online without make-up, with the hashtag #nomakeupselfie.

Adele Gautier, from the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation, said the organisation saw a small increase in online donations last week that could probably be attributed only to the campaign but they were still coming in today.

"Our fundraising manager says the total on Friday night was $1500, but over the weekend and today there has been a steady stream of donations to reach $24,000, and it's still going,'' she said.

"Hopefully the enthusiasm generated by no-makeup-selfie will spill over into registrations for our Pink Ribbon Breakfast fundraiser (as I said, registrations for Pink Ribbon Breakfast open today.''

Among those ditching the mascara, foundation and lipstick is ZM radio presenter Polly Gillespie, who tweeted: "First time without makeup in 400 years, but it's for breast cancer awareness.''

Hamilton woman Tami Boroevich rarely - if ever - leaves home without makeup on, so taking an early-morning selfie sans lipstick, mascara and foundation was new for her.

"I'm a beauty therapist and a trainee hairdresser so I kind of have to have makeup on. That's why taking one like that was out of the blue,'' said the 37-year-old.

"I don't leave the house without makeup on. Even when I go to the gym I have mascara on.''

She responded to the campaign on Facebook before donating to the Breast Cancer Foundation.

Coronation Street actress Kym Marsh, who plays Michelle Connor, posted this selfie.

The idea for the campaign appears to have begun when US crime author Laura Lippman tweeted a picture of herself without makeup in support of actress Kim Novak, 81, whose looks had been criticised at the Oscars. Novak has suffered breast cancer.

The trend was picked up by celebrities and fans of Lippman before spreading around the world.

After Cancer Research UK was alerted to the campaign, it asked women to add a donation request to their posts.

Ms Gautier said most donations come through more-traditional means including the foundation's annual appeal. She said if women wanted to make a contribution or donation they could do so on its website.

"It's really fantastic that people are using it to raise money for breast cancer; there's still much to be done,'' said Ms Gautier.

"People are particularly giving to breast cancer research. We find with our donors that that is where they want their money to go to.''

How to help

To make an online donation New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation: http://nzbcf.org.nz Cancer Society of New Zealand: www.cancernz.org.nz

- NZ Herald

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