A 20-year-old politics student from Battersea in London has reached the Miss England final, becoming the first-ever makeup-free contestant to participate in the beauty pageant in its 94-year history.
With this act, Melisa Raouf hopes to inspire other women to embrace their natural beauty and eliminate the toxic beauty standards set by 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,” Melisa, who impressed the judges during the semi-finals, said, independent.co.uk reported.
She will now be competing against 40 other women at the Miss England finals in October and plans to go ‘bare-face’ once again. “I’m going to the finals bare-faced. I would love to use my Miss England platform to empower natural beauty and eliminate this toxic mindset,” she said.
According to the report, Melisa added that “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,” she said.
Recounting her own struggle with accepting herself, she said, “When I started wearing make-up at a young age, I never felt comfortable in my own skin. I never felt I met beauty standards.”
But, now she has accepted that she is beautiful in her own skin. “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 the coveted pageant had previously introduced a ‘bare-face top model’ round, the organisers revealed that it was the first time they have known anyone competing without any makeup.
“It was quite a daunting experience but so amazing to win this way,” the finalist said.
Revealing how her act inspired many women, she added: “‘I’ve had so many girls message me 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. I feel like all girls are beautiful in their own way. I feel like I’ve done it for all girls.”