A Miss England 2022 candidate is using the pageant platform to challenge beauty standards.
Melisa Raouf said that she decided to appear barefaced in a bid to promote inner beauty and challenge the beauty ideals perpetuated on social media. She relied only on her natural beauty when she appeared at the beauty contest's semi-finals in London this week.
Twenty-year-old politics student Melisa made it to the finals of Miss England, and made history as the first contestant to compete without makeup.
Speaking about her experience, Melisa said, “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," she added.
Melisa 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, " Melisa continued.
Organizers previously launched a makeup-free modeling round in 2019, where contestants had to post a bare-faced selfie on social media. Melisa is the first candidate in the pageant’s 94-year history to fully compete without using cosmetics.
Melisa will now compete alongside 40 other women for the chance to be crowned Miss England, and she intends to go makeup-free there, too. “It means a lot to me as I feel many girls of different ages wear makeup because they feel pressured to do so,” she said.
She further said, “if one is happy in their own skin we should not be made to cover up our face with makeup,” she says. “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."