High school club earns national attention for makeup-free day

COLLEYVILLE -- When some girls at Colleyville Heritage High School decided to ditch makeup on Tuesdays to make a statement about self-confidence, they weren't exactly expecting to wind up on national television.

"I'm pretty sure none of us ever dreamed of going out that publicly without our makeup on," said Samantha Gibbs, a 17-year-old senior who started the Redefining Beautiful club during the summer with a group of like-minded friends.

"But at the same time, that's what our group is about."

After a story appeared in the Star-Telegram on Oct. 7, Gibbs and the other girls got additional media attention.

On Tuesday, they are scheduled to appear on CBS' The Early Show in a live interview from Colleyville Heritage's campus. Last week, they did an ABC News online segment.

Late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon even joked about the club during his monologue Monday.

It's all a bit overwhelming, even for faculty sponsor Suzanne McGahey.

"I talked this morning with a newspaper from the Netherlands," McGahey said Tuesday. "People around here are saying, 'Oprah's next!'"

The students themselves are taking it in stride -- as much as possible for 16- and 17-year olds.

"For the most part, we're pretty well-organized, but everyone's very nervous about the live interviews," Gibbs said.

The girls' actions have sparked conversation and even some mild controversy.

Colleyville Heritage's student newspaper The Roaring Red commented in an editorial last week that not all girls are comfortable without makeup and that they should be supported if they choose not to participate in Redefining Beautiful's movement.

"Everyone's entitled to their own opinion," Gibbs said. "Hopefully people will be able to see the positive and not take anything negative from it."

Meanwhile, more girls are signing up for Redefining Beautiful and taking the makeup-free Tuesday pledge. The club had more than 180 members as of last week. Not all of them wear the "Redefining Beautiful" T-shirts or reject makeup every Tuesday.

McGahey said she has fielded calls from supportive high school parents and even those with middle school children in the Colleyville area who want to buy the T-shirts to give their daughters an early start in the movement.

"This isn't what we expected at all, and we're still thankful for it," Gibbs said.

Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657