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.”
Ms Raouf said she started wearing makeup at a young age, but that it never made her feel “comfortable” in her own skin.
“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 organisers of the Miss England event previously introduced a ”Bare Face” round of the competition in 2019 – which, organiser Angie Beasley said encourages women “to show us who they really are without the need to hide behind makeup and filters on social media” – this is the first time a contestant has chosen to forgo it completely.