Contestant Sparks Debate & Makes History By Going Bare-Faced For Pageant

Mar 27, 2023 by apost team

Melisa Raouf took a huge leap for womankind and made history in 2022 when she became the first contestant to ever compete in the Miss England pageant without wearing any makeup.

After making it to the semi-finals of the competition in August 2022, the 20-year-old South London native studying politics said she wanted to go completely bare-faced to upend current beauty standards.

“It means a lot to me as I feel many girls of different ages wear makeup because they feel pressured to do so,” Raouf told the Independent.

“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 added.

Raouf admitted feeling comfortable in her own skin took time and didn’t come naturally.

“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 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,” she professed.

Describing the pageant as a “daunting but amazing experience,” Raouf added she was thrilled her actions have served as an inspiration to others.

“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 remarked.

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The pageant’s organizers had introduced a makeup-free round back in 2019 in a bid to encourage young women to go au naturel.

Miss England organizer Angie Beasley said the round was sparked after finding far too many hopefuls had undergone cosmetic and makeup enhancements. 

“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,” Beasley stated.

Raouf also told LadBible that, since taking to the stage clean-face in a bid to “empower natural beauty and eliminate this toxic mindset,” she found her act had resonated with so many online.

However, Raouf – with her striking blue eyes, clear skin, curls of auburn hair and bright smile – also came under fire from critics who said it was easy for somebody so naturally beautiful to be able to go makeup-free — a luxury that not every girl believes they have.

“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,’” @beepbekaka tweeted and added, “being a naturally beautiful woman making a stand in a beauty pageant by not wearing makeup is unfortunately not empowering at all. ur still competing in an archaic beauty pageant, we're still valuing people on their looks.”

Another commenter wrote

“The idea of the ‘natural look’ has a terribly toxic (and misogynistic) history going back to Ovid. Not wearing make up doesn't equate to liberation, and many Renaissance women argued in favour of being able to do so.”

While Raouf did not end up taking the Miss England crown, she did win the makeup-free round and took the title of the pageant’s “Bare Face Top Model” in October 2022.

What are your thoughts on Raouf’s decision to go makeup free for the pageant? Do you agree with her critics about her move only serving to make women feel less secure? Let us know and pass this on to all your girlfriends out there to get their take on Raouf’s actions.

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