Miss England finalist competes in a pageant without makeup, sparking discussion about beauty standards

If a person is comfortable in their own skin, they should not be required to apply makeup.

A 20-year-old student of politics became the first contestant in the 94-year history of the Miss England pageant to compete without wearing makeup. Melisa Raouf, from South London, participated in the pageant’s semifinals on Monday without makeup. According to CNN, she has advanced to the finals and will now compete with 40 other women on October 17 at the Heart of England Conference and Events Centre in Coventry, England for the title of Miss England.

In an interview with The Independent, Raouf explained why she chose to compete without makeup, emphasizing the importance of being comfortable in one’s own skin. “It means a lot to me as I feel many girls of different ages wear makeup because they feel pressured to do so. If one is happy in their own skin, we should not be made to cover up our face with makeup,” she said. The finalist thinks that our flaws “make us who we are” and “make every individual unique” in their own ways. 

The student in politics stated that she “never felt” she met beauty standards. She stated, “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.”

Following her relocation, Raouf has received a great deal of affection and support. ““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 beauty queen continued.

When Raouf competes for the highly coveted crown on the coronation night in October, pageant organizers disclosed that Raouf intends to walk the stage without makeup once more.  “We wish her the best of luck in Miss England. It’s a very brave thing to do when everyone else is wearing makeup but she’s sending out an important message to young women,” 

The 94-year-old pageant’s organizers had previously introduced a “naked top model” round in 2019.”We introduced the Bare Face Top Model round in 2019 as most contestants were submitting highly edited images wearing lots of makeup and we wanted to see the real person behind the makeup.” Raouf ultimately won this round in 2019.

While the move was praised by many, it also highlighted the deeply archaic beauty standards of the pageant itself. The beauty contest standards do not represent all women. While it is certainly empowering for a woman like Raouf to adopt a no-makeup look, makeup itself receives a great deal of criticism, according to social media users. Many people use makeup as a form of defiance. “beautiful sentiment but like the ‘clean girl’ trend this only serves to make a lot of women MORE insecure; ‘shes so beautiful without makeup, i cant even compare even when im wearing a full face'”