'That girl in pink' fights back

MELISSA WISHART
Last updated 10:53 19/07/2013
Benni Cinkle
FIGHTING BACK: Benni Cinkle has started her own anti-bullying foundation.
Benni Cinkle
THE GIRL IN PINK: Benni Cinkle in Rebecca Black's Friday video.

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When Rebecca Black's infamous Friday hit the internet, it didn't take long for 13-year-old Benni Cinkle to come under fire for her role in the music video.

Although Benni's screen time came to a mere 28 seconds, it was 28 seconds of gloriously awkward dancing that made the Californian teen internet famous.

Benni, who now blogs for the Huffington Post, was ridiculed by millions and labelled "that girl in pink who dances awkwardly" by internet users after her appearance in the video on March 2011.

"Suddenly thousands of total strangers were saying rude things about me and calling me names like: lame, loser, awful, worthless, annoying, fat, ugly, dumb, horrible, stupid, freak," she said in a blog post.

But Benni took it in her stride and joined in the joking, acknowledging that her dancing was, in fact, pretty awful. She has now started a nonprofit anti-bullying foundation, thatgirlinpink.org.

"People who were hating on me suddenly started taking an interest in me," she said. "People started asking me for advice on how to deal with bullying and asking how I stayed so positive when everyone was being so mean."

Fans started confiding their problems in Benni, and she dedicated herself to helping others.

Two years since the release of Friday, Benni has authored That Girl In Pink's Internet Survival Guide, organised a flash mob dance to raise money for American Red Cross Japan Earthquake Relief, visited schools around the US to give talks on bullying, and started to record her own music.

In September 2011, she released her first single Can You See Me Now, which she wrote for other teens suffering from abuse or depression.

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