Woman becomes first in Miss England's 94-year history to compete without makeup
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A woman has made history as the first Miss England contestant in the beauty pageant's 94-year history to compete without makeup.
Politics student Melisa Raouf said she decided to go makeup-free in the hopes of inspiring other women to embrace their natural looks.
The 20-year-old appeared at the semi-finals in London earlier this week, where she walked the catwalk without any beauty products on.
Not only did she break the pageant stereotype, but she bagged herself a spot in the Miss England final.
Melisa, from south London, is now set to compete alongside 40 other women for the title, which will be announced on 17 October.
The student, who attends King's College London, plans to appear bare-faced once again at the decider.
Speaking about her experience, Melisa said: "It was quite a daunting experience but so amazing to win this way.
"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.
"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."
Melisa went on to explain that she 'never felt comfortable' in her own skin when wearing makeup.
"I never felt I met beauty standards," she added. "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.
"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.
"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."
The competition previously introduced a 'bare-face model' round but this is the first time someone has entered the full pageant without wearing makeup.
Miss England organiser Angie Beasley spoke about the decision to launch the new format, saying: "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 make up and using filters.
“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."