Are YOU brave enough to take the #WokeUpThisWayChallenge? Here's why I did (and yes, it was scary AF to go makeup-free). | Kelly Golightly

In case you missed this over on my Instagram, I wanted to share this here. And for the hundreds of you who have left comments or joined in the #WokeUpThisWayChallenge, I cannot thank you enough. You guys astound me with your kindness, wisdom, generosity and all around loveliness. Here’s why I participated and went makeup-free even though it felt scary AF…


KELLY LEE (that’s me!) is a human (mostly).


Sure, there’s overlap, but the distinction is important.

Social media is a double-edged sword.

It’s given us the opportunity to connect, to share, to CREATE beautiful worlds; worlds that often themselves become brands.

When I first started blogging, social media didn’t even exist. And what was so exciting about it was that it was so democratic. It allowed anyone to have a voice. We weren’t just getting top-down dictates from magazines.

We were seeing real girls in real clothes.

But then Instagram came along. And THAT was exciting at first. We were able to capture beautiful moments and share them with the world.

But a slippery slope started to happen.

Instead of CAPTURING beautiful moments, we started CREATING them.

And that’s a HUGE distinction.

Composing the perfect shot. Look at my latte art. What, you’re drinking a plain old mug of coffee at home?

Through filters and advances in camera technology, we were able to get magazine-caliber images ourselves. So, clearly those are the ones we share, right?


And there is nothing wrong with that.

But it is VITAL for you to know that Instagram is 100% a highlight reel.

And we’re all complicit in it. As content creators, we share the perfect photos because those are the ones that get the most likes. So it’s a self-perpetuating cycle.

But it’s doing serious damage to ALL of us.

Mental illness is on the rise; people are pumping themselves full of fillers and toxins in an effort to achieve perfection.


It does not exist.

Perfection is boring anyways and the pursuit of it will literally drive you crazy.

It’s also important that you know that I, Kelly Lee, am a person. Just like you. With real feelings, struggles and triumphs. Ups and downs.

I’m posting this picture to show you me – no makeup, no filters.

Confession: I feel more like Gorbachev than like Audrey, thanks to that lovely birthmark/freckle patch(?) gracing my face.

So much so that only a handful of people ever see me without makeup.

That’s exhausting.

And it doesn’t stem from vanity, it stems from insecurity.

But the logical part of me knows that’s a HUGE waste of time.

What is real anyway?

I can show you a photo of me taken with different cameras in different lighting and from different angles. Some make me say, WOW I LOOK GOOD. Others MAKE ME LOOK LIKE A TROLL.

Which is real?

Clearly, I have a lot to say on this topic, so perhaps a blog post (or two) is forthcoming.

Also, I could have taken a more “Golightly” version of this picture, in my color palette, so it looked better in my feed. But I didn’t because I wanted this reminder in my feed. And it would have defeated the point.


Along with my friend @iamfashionlaine of Fashion Laine, who launched this campaign, I’m asking YOU to be part of this challenge too and bring awareness and spread this much-needed conversation around the world. Let’s unite and do this together!


1) Post of photo of yourself of how you look when you wake up in the morning (no hair done, no makeup, no filter!!) with the hashtag #WokeUpThisWayChallenge and talk about how you’re spreading the message to bring realness back to social media.

2) Tag 3 (or more!) friends to challenge them next to post a morning photo.

3) Mention in your caption that if people don’t want to participate by posting a photo, instead donate money to @ladygaga’s @btwfoundation which is committed to promoting the wellness of young people and inspiring them to create a kinder, braver world.

I nominate you to take on this challenge next!

Are YOU brave enough to post on social media what you look like when you wake up in the morning?

p.s. I tagged three ladies I love: @olesyarulin of Girl Across the Blvd, @jenniferlake of Style Charade, and @ohjoy of Oh Joy!

You can see everyone who has posted so far here.

I hope to see you join in too xo,

Kelly Lee

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