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'Bare beauty': Melissa Raouf, 20, walks Miss England runway WITHOUT makeup to eliminate 'toxic' beauty standards

The politics student has advanced to the finale of the beauty contest after blowing the judges and the audience away with her brave decision
Miss England finalist Melisa Raouf walks the runway bare-faced to encourage people to embrace their real selves (Miss England Contest/Facebook)
Miss England finalist Melisa Raouf walks the runway bare-faced to encourage people to embrace their real selves (Miss England Contest/Facebook)

LONDON, UK: In the 94 years since its inception, the only woman to ever compete in the Miss England beauty contest without makeup was a politics student. The reward for her gutsy decision: advancing to the finale of the beauty contest. Melisa Raouf, 20, a student at King's College London, participated in the beauty pageant's semi-finals in London in early August without any makeup, and the judges were astounded by her unaltered beauty.
According to the Daily Mail, Raouf stated that she made the decision to walk the runway bare-faced in the hopes of encouraging other women to accept their own natural features. She added that she was shocked to know that she was selected for the finale. "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, further claiming that she wishes to stop the unhealthy conversation around cosmetics and social media. "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," she added.


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In this era of social media addiction, Raouf claimed she made the uncommon decision to compete without cosmetics in an effort to encourage true confidence through inner beauty. Her radical decision has won applause from admirers who claimed she has inspired them. When she presents herself at the finals, she will yet again walk the runway bare-faced.
At the Heart of England Conference and Events Centre in Coventry on October 17, her next contest will be against 40 other ladies for the title of Miss England. Although the renowned pageant's producers had included a "bare-face top model" category in 2019, they claimed that this was the first time they have heard of someone competing in the contest without wearing makeup.
According to the Mail, Melisa said, "It was quite a daunting experience but so amazing to win this way. 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 have recently accepted that I am beautiful in my own skin and that's why I decided to compete with no make-up. 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. "

20-year-old Miss England finalist Melisa Raouf (Miss England Contest/Facebook)
Miss England finalist Melisa Raouf has decided to compete without makeup to start a conversation around the unhealthy trend of cosmetics (Miss England Contest/Facebook)

"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, adding, "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. "
The organizer of Miss England, Angie Beasley, claimed she was astonished by the number of cosmetics and fillers used by candidates. Therefore, in 2019, she added the bare-faced top model category. Beasley said, "I saw too many unrealistic images on Instagram and contestants thinking they needed to wear make-up to look beautiful. It encourages contestants to show us who they really are without the need to hide behind makeup and filters on social media. This round in the contest was introduced back in 2019 as we were receiving so many entry images from contestants covering their faces with thick makeup and using filters."
She added, "Since then, contestants post their images on social media to enter this round. This is the first time I've seen a contestant completely make-up-free competing in a semi-final, and she said she felt empowered against all the other contestants. I'm all for make-up 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 luck in Miss England 2022. "