The Return of That Girl in Pink: Catching Up with Benni Cinkle

Although Rebecca Black's "Friday" is already old news, Benni Cinkle aka "That Girl in Pink" is still staying relevant and maintaining a cult fan base

Rebecca Black has been very quiet lately.  In the weeks since the Friday phenomena rocked the world – for better or for worse – last March, the hoopla has died down and what was once hot is now not.  Rumor has it that Rebecca Black is recording an entire album, which will finally either prove that she does have what it takes to be the next pop sensation, or that we were all right and that the poor misguided girl cannot actually sing.  Time will tell what Rebecca Black’s final fate along the pop culture journey will be.

However, while Rebecca Black slips into the pop culture abyss, her “friend by her right,” Benni Cinkle, aka “That Girl In Pink that Dances Awkwardly in Rebecca Black’s Friday Video” has continued to be more busy and visible than ever.  Endearing herself to the same public that sneered at Rebecca Black, via her realness, her honest approach, her sense of humor and her willingness to laugh at the whole Friday fiasco, Benni Cinkle has gone from being a popular .gif to extending beyond the Friday video and becoming her own institution.  Via her web-site, www.thatgirlinpink.com, Benni has been working hard for months to inspire and encourage others around the world to help others through her constant charity endeavors.

When I spoke to Benni Cinkle in March 2011 Benni was focused on helping raise funds for disaster-torn Japan.  However, when red tape got in the way of her efforts, Benni changed course and found a new cause to put her energy into.  Now Benni is raising funds for Cystic Fibrosis.  With scientists close to finding a cure for this crippling disease, Benni’s team of volunteers worldwide has raised over six thousand dollars towards finding a cure. 

One of my favorite individuals currently on the pop culture radar, I spoke to Benni just after a Cystic Fibrosis walk in Huntington Beach, CA.  Still flying high on the success of the event, which featured a number of other familiar faces from Rebecca Black’s notorious video, Benni spoke with me before heading out to Hollywood where she is looking for a studio to record a charity single of an original composition to align with her next good will project.  Never stopping, Benni Cinkle has taken what was to be fifteen minutes of fame and has turned it into a crusade to help as many people as she can with the resources that sudden fame has given her.

CONFESSIONS OF A POP CULTURE ADDICT PRESENTS

THE RETURN OF THAT GIRL IN PINK:

CATCHING UP WITH BENNI CINKLE

Benni Cinkle is about to go into the recording studio. Unfortunatly, she probably will not be playing the accordian

Sam:  How has your last couple of months been?  Now that the whole Friday phenomena has died down a bit do you find that you are still as busy?

Benni:  I’ve definitely been busier.  Besides doing the charity stuff I am going to record a song.  I’m doing that every weekend.  I’ve been going up to Hollywood and meeting with recording studios.

Sam:  That’s great!  Is there any particular studio that you are working with yet?

Benni:  No, but I’m meeting with one today thought, but we haven’t picked one yet.

Sam:  Now please tell me that you are not doing these through Ark Music Factory.

Benni:  I’m not. (Laughs)

Sam:  Good choice.  So tell me more about the single you are recording.

Benni:  I wrote the song a long time ago.  Probably about a year ago.  I wrote about this website I found called Six Billion Secrets which is a place that anybody can go on, and it’s a non judgmental site, and anybody can post any secret they have.  A lot of them are kids who have been abused in their homes and they don’t know what to do and don’t have anybody to tell so they put it there.  After reading it I started crying because it was so sad so the song was written about that site.  I am [going to be] donating some of the proceeds from the single to a child abuse foundation.

Sam:  That’s wonderful, and that’s also pretty heavy stuff.  Now over the last month you’ve been raising money for Cystic Fibrosis.  How did you get interested in that cause?

Benni Cinkle and the "Girls of Friday" walking for CF in Huntington Beach, CA in May 2011

Benni:  My Mom is the first person who told me about it because she is a board member of The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and she was telling me about the disease.  I wanted to do something because they are so close to a cure and ninety one cents of every dollar actually goes to the research.  So we found about this walk and I decided to do that.  So I put it on Facebook and people on Facebook were saying “I wish I could walk with you but I live in Australia.  I live in Canada.  I live in the Philippines.”  So I {wondered] “Why can’t they walk?”  It doesn’t matter where you walk as long as you do something to raise awareness and then you can raise the money.  So what we did is that we had specific ambassadors that we thought we could trust to get people together to form a route and get people to walk on.  We have ambassadors in Australia, Canada, London and the Philippines.  The whole walk raised four hundred thousand dollars, and in all my team has raised almost six thousand dollars in pledges. 

Sam:  I saw the photos from the walk and you had a bunch of the other girls from the Friday video out with you. 

Benni:  Yeah.  I had the “girl on the left”, whose name is Hayley.  We had the girl in the car in the morning scene that sits next to Rebecca that does the backwards hand wave. 

Sam:  Did you have people coming out just for a chance to meet you guys?

Benni:  There were a few people who showed up and said “I’m a single walker but could I get an autograph for my daughter because she has CF.” We were giving out t-shirts so there were people who came out for autographs.

Sam:  So although the walk for Cystic Fibrosis has happened, is there a way for people to continue supporting this cause?

"I feel that I’ve been given this opportunity and I should use it for something good and not for my own benefit. There is so much I can do here and I want to use as much of it as I can to help people around the world"

Benni:  Yeah.  The page for Cystic Fibrosis stays up for a year and people can always donate to my team even though we already walked. 

Sam:  I think it’s wonderful that you have taken the sudden bit of fame that you have and that you are using it to do some good in the world.  I know most kids in the media don’t even think about doing this.  What keeps you crusading?

Benni:  I just feel that there is so much that I can do.  There are so many people out there who don’t have the power to help.  People who live in small towns in Brazil and they want to help and they don’t know how.  I feel that I’ve been given this opportunity and I should use it for something good and not for my own benefit.  There is so much I can do here and I want to use as much of it as I can to help people around the world.

Sam:  I find that because of the positivity that you’ve put out in the world, that the positivity comes back to you.  Although the public was initially cruel about the Friday video, you’ve seemed to have a fan base who is primarily positive. 

Benni:  Yeah.  I don’t get that much hate because I guess it’s kind of hard to hate someone who is [raising money and awareness] for kids who are dying with Cystic Fibrosis.  I think that these things show people that although I was in a video that they don’t like, that I am still a person.

Sam:  The Friday hoopla has seemed to have died down.  However, I’ve seen videos of Katy Perry and Stephen Colbert and the cast of Glee doing Friday.  I’ve heard reports that The Jonas Brothers and Justin Bieber have performed it in concert.  Friday has quickly become a part of pop culture, and despite the fact that it is considered to be so bad, it has been embraced by these major performers.  What do you make of it?

Benni:  I think that people love to watch things blow up.  Whether they think it’s amazing or if they think it’s not, it doesn’t matter.  If everybody else is talking about it then I’m going to be talking about it too.  I feel that everybody is talking about it because everybody else is talking about it too. 

Sam:  I know your favorite show is Glee.  What did you think when they did it on the show, and especially when Artie did your now famous “awkward dance.”

Mark Salling, Kevin McHale and Chord Overstreet perform "Friday" on Glee. McHale even did Benni's now famous awkward dance which fans have named "The Benni"

Benni:  Oh my gosh.  I was really shocked when I first heard they were going to do [Friday].  I thought it was just a rumor and that they weren’t really going to do it.  Then when I heard the actual song that they did I thought “This is insane.”  I remember the day when Rebecca told me that she was going to be recording a song, and I was like “Oh really,” and she said “That’s what I really want to do with my life.  I want to be a singer” and I said, “Cool.”  Now you come to today and it’s insane.  The part where Artie did my dance [had me] baffled.  I feel that Artie was in the same position that I was because in the show he’s in a wheelchair and in the video I couldn’t get up and dance because I had to stay sitting down because I was in the back seat of the car.  I don’t know if he did it on purpose, but we did the same move because we couldn’t move our legs, and what else are you supposed to do with your arms?

Sam:  Well, you’ve become a part of the pop culture lexicon because you were in the Friday video and because you are That Girl in Pink.  But do you feel that through your videos and your charity work that you have managed to evolve past the video and made your own niche on the cultural landscape?  Do people see you as an individual beyond this video?

"I don’t just want people to see me as that girl that danced in the Friday video. I want them to see me as Benni Cinkle, this girl that does all this work for charity"

Benni:  I hope so.  I’m trying to step away the attention towards the Friday video and focus on That Girl in Pink and my charity work because I don’t just want people to see me as that girl that danced in the Friday video.  I want them to see me as Benni Cinkle, this girl that does all this work for charity.

In a culture that is based more on ego instead of talent, and in which cynicism and negativity is considered cutting-edge, Benni Cinkle is a breath of fresh air.  That’s why I like her so much:  she has taken what was essentially a small piece of fame and is doing something incredibly positive with it.  That positivity is rare and wonderful.  Her sense of humor, lack of ego and the fact that she seems to have her feet firmly set on the ground is amazing.  That is why I continue to support Benni Cinkle’s causes, and hopefully through her efforts she will not only help just people in need, but inspire others to do the same.

For more on Benni’s Cystic Fibrosis campaign, and to make a contribution, please visit Benni’s Cystic Fibrosis Page.  Even a donation of as much as ten dollars can make a huge difference.  PCA has made its own donation to Cystic Fibrosis research due to Benni’s encouragement.  Meanwhile, stay tuned for more information on Benni’s next charity project aiding abused children.  Benni and her mother Pati have some surprises in store and we’ll let you in on them as soon as PCA hears more.

(Either JavaScript is not active or you are using an old version of Adobe Flash Player. Please install the newest Flash Player.)

  1. Juli’s avatar

    I love her so much! I hope she releases her own single soon!!!

Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>