A politics student has made history as the first Miss England contestant to go makeup-free in the pageant’s 94 years.
Melisa Raouf, a 20-year-old from London, said she decided to appear barefaced in a bid to promote inner beauty and challenge the beauty ideals perpetuated on social media.
“It means a lot to me as I feel many girls of different ages wear makeup because they feel pressured to do so,” she told The Independent of her decision.
“If one is happy in their own skin we should not be made to cover up our face with makeup. Our flaws make us who we are and that’s what makes every individual unique.
“I think people should love and embrace their flaws and blemishes, as we know real beauty lies within simplicity.”
“I never felt I met beauty standards. I have recently accepted that I am beautiful in my own skin and that’s why I decided to compete with no makeup,” she said.
“I still feel confident in myself, with makeup I’m all concealed. This is who I am, I’m not afraid to share who I am. I wanted to show who Melisa truly is.”
While organizers of the Miss England event previously introduced a “Bare Face” round of the competition in 2019 — which, organizer Angie Beasley said encourages women “to show us who they really are behind without the need to hide makeup and filters on social media” — this is the first time a contestant has decided to forgo it completely.
“This is the first time I’ve seen a completely contestant makeup free competing in a semi final and she said she felt empowered against all the other contestants,” Beasley said.
“I’m all for makeup to enhance your natural beauty but there’s no need for youngsters to wear it so thick that it looks like a mask.
“I wish Melisa the best of lucky in Miss England 2022.”
Raouf said she’d been inundated with messages from other young women “telling me how I’ve made them feel more confident in themselves.”
“With mental health being such a big topic, I want to make all girls feel good. I just want to remove all the beauty standards,” she added.
“I feel like all girls are beautiful in their own way. I feel like I’ve done it for all girls.”