Miss England contestant, Melisa Raouf, recently made history by competing in the pageant without wearing makeup. In a world where unrealistic beauty standards prevail, Raouf’s decision has sparked a global movement encouraging women to embrace their natural beauty. At just 20 years old, she became the first contestant in the pageant’s 94-year history to go makeup-free, challenging the narrow definition of beauty imposed by society.
Raouf revealed that she used to spend three hours perfecting her cosmetics, feeling pressured to conform to society’s expectations. However, after years of feeling insecure, she decided to take a stand against these unrealistic beauty standards. In an interview, she expressed her belief that women should not be scrutinized for not conforming to these standards.
“I wanted to take that bare-face round to the next level and challenge these unrealistic beauty standards,” Raouf said boldly.
Skin-positive activists have been critical of the beauty industry for using manipulated photographs to advertise their products and perpetuating insecurities among women. Raouf herself, a student studying political science at King’s College London, aims to inspire women who, like her, have felt unqualified in society’s eyes.
The Miss England finals, held in Birmingham, took place over the weekend. Contestants from all over the country competed for the prestigious crown. Raouf earned her spot in the competition by winning the optional Miss London Bare Face Top Model competition earlier this year. This competition, introduced in 2019, requires contestants to share a photo of themselves without makeup on their social media accounts.
Before the finals, Raouf participated in a 10-kilometer race and litter cleanup in London to raise money for Beauty with a Purpose, a charity affiliated with Miss World. This charity provides food, water, and education to those in need. Inspired by her journey, Raouf also created the #barefacetrendmovement, which has allowed her to connect with a group of women interested in promoting skin positivity.
Elle Seline, who made history last year by competing in the Ms. Great Britain competition without using cosmetics, praised Raouf for her bold decision. Seline, a champion of women’s empowerment, believes that Raouf’s actions mark a revolution in the perception of beauty. She foresees society experiencing a significant transformation in the way beauty is perceived.
Although Jessica Gagen, an aerospace engineering student, won the Miss England crown on Monday night, Raouf’s message remained powerful in her final speech. She emphasized the need for change and acceptance of women as they are, regardless of age or background.
The movement for genuine skin love has been steadily growing, surprising even real-skin influencers who were initially concerned about negative feedback. Mariia Bilenka, a marketing professional for a face-care app, shared her personal skin story on social media in 2018 to break the taboo surrounding skin disorders.
The hashtags #bareface and #skinpositivity, now popular on Instagram, demonstrate the expansion of this movement. People are embracing unedited, unfiltered images and celebrating their natural beauty.
Raouf’s journey has taught her that self-love and acceptance are far more significant than wearing makeup or using filters. That inner confidence radiates and shines through, surpassing any external enhancements.