- Melisa Raouf, 20, is the first Miss England contestant to compete without wearing any makeup.
- Raouf told The Independent she hopes her decision inspires women to feel beautiful in their own skin.
- Raouf made it past the Miss England semifinals on Monday and will compete in the finals in October.
A Miss England finalist became the first contestant to participate without wearing any makeup in the beauty pageant’s 94-year history.
20-year-old Melisa Raouf made it past the semifinals on Monday and will go on to compete against 40 other young women in October for the crown, according to The Independent.
“It means a lot to me as I feel many girls of different ages wear makeup because they feel pressured to do so,” Raouf said in an interview with The Independent’s Saman Javed Wednesday. She told the publication that she also plans on making a barefaced appearance at the finals.
“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.
Raouf explained that she started wearing makeup at a young age but never truly felt 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 told The Independent.
Raouf is an advocate for youth mental health through the pageant. According to her Instagram page, Raouf raised money for Papyrus, a UK-based organization that works to prevent suicide among young people.
“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,” she said.
“I think people should love and embrace their flaws and blemishes, as we know real beauty lies within simplicity,” Raouf told the Independent.
Raouf did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The Miss England pageant has a round where contestants are asked to compete without any makeup. Raouf celebrated her participation in the round with a post on Instagram in May. The all-natural round began in 2019, according to CNN.
“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,” Angie Beasley, director of Miss England, told CNN.
“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,” Beasley added.