TODAY | September 17, 2012
>>> back now at 8:11 who turned her struggle with acne into a lesson in confidence. now it's taken her all the way to the caught walks at fashion week in new york city . we'll talk to cassandra in a minute but first how she got her.
>> probably the most nerve racking thing i can do, probably my biggest insecurity. this is my face.
>> over 12 million people have seen the inspiring youtube video of teen model cassandra bankson revealing her secret under all the makeup, a struggle with severe cystic acne .
>> i always carry everything that i do down my neck just because, well, i have acne there.
>> what started as a tutorial in makeup soon became a lesson in grace and courage as we learned cassandra had been a victim of high school bullying because of that acne.
>> having the feedback from other peers and students at my school was really kind of self-traumatizing and put me into kind of a reclused isolated state. hey, everyone.
>> but as support for kazcassandra grew, so did her confidence.
>> well, confidence is beauty essentially. you can't have one without the other.
>> in the last two years cassandra has posted hundreds of videos in an effort to help other teens find their definition of beauty.
>> today i wanted to bring you an acne update. pleased with my skin. the best it's been in a long time. as you can see, i still have some issues down here.
>> and now besides being be a inspiration, she can add cat walk model to her resume. just last week cassandra was asked to walk in new york fashion week's for boy meets girl . designer stacy iger was not even aware of her story when she was cast.
>> i did not know her. i was looking for confident women. for meekah sandra stood out because of her vibe, because of her look.
>> and now thanks to cassandra we know what's in fashion this week, confidence. cassandra bankson is with us this morning.
>> good morning.
>> nice to see you vut your stuff.
>> it was unbelievable. like this is happening to me and it's like wow.
>> did you feel nervous?
>> expecting a little bit of nervousness but i think it was more like i wanted to dance or bear hug somebody.
>> and i know you've modelled before but this had to be special.
>> this really was. you know, my preferred medium is probably print. this was, you know, cast through an online search for modeling but this is new york fashion week.
>> is it right that the designer didn't even know your struggle with acne, hire had had you based on your beauty and poise along.
>> if you want to call it that, thank you very much.
>> that must have made it particularly special.
>> since it was an online casting i didn't have to fly out for the auditions so it made it much easier.
>> last time you were here your youtube, the video had 6 million hits. now you have how many?
>> 12 million hits. are you surprised how much it has resonated?
>> i really am. i filmed this thinking that maybe i could speak to one or two people and that i would get the same hate and commentary that i got in high school , and first off, a million views is ridiculous but 12.
>> and you have a youtube channel . you have 45 million hits on that.
>> around, yes.
>> but even more everything that you've received from this which has been so overwhelmingly positive, i understand that there were negative comments leading you to want to shut it all down.
>> the first experience i had was in school, i basically decided to run away from my problems, and i overcame kind of that issue, but i found some other things online and just that negativity and for a moment i did take a step back and said i can't do this anymore. i'm not going to deal with this.
>> people can be incredibly mean on the internet.
>> i think so. it's kind of like that shield, you know, being anonymous, but that was kind of a step. i've run away from my problems before, can't do that again but i'll have to continue what i'm doing, because even if everyone doesn't enjoy it i think someone does, and that's what matters.
>> as we mentioned in the piece this, started out as a lesson this makeup but it's something a lot deeper. it's more than skin deep
>> i hope sfloe what is your message?
>> i think there's a lot of message and the first one is beauty is confidence. again, you cannot have inner beauty or confidence without having -- i'm sorry, you can't have outer beauty without having inner beauty , and i also think strength is basically knowledge essentially. you can't be strong unless you understand not only yourself but other people.
>> and where are you in this journey? i mean, have you gotten to the point where you're okay going outside without all your makeup on, or is that still something you're working towards?
>> i definitely am. if you would have asked me a year ago, never something i could do. i go out without makeup all the time, and i feel just as free and liberated as if i was wearing a full coverage foundation.
>> you're the definition of beautiful, inside and out.
>> thank you.
>> cassandra bankson, great to see your success. thanks for being