A politics student has reached the Miss England final after becoming the first ever beauty queen to appear make-up free at the pageant in its 94 year history.
Melisa Raouf, 20, from London, wowed the judges with her natural beauty when she appeared at the semi-finals of the competition in London earlier this month.
She said she decided to take to the catwalk without any cosmetics or beauty products in the hope of inspiring other women to embrace their natural looks.
Melisa was left stunned when she landed a place in the Miss England final, and said she now wants to eliminate the ‘toxic’ narrative surrounding makeup and social media, adding: ‘It means a lot to me as I feel many girls of different ages wear makeup because they feel pressured to do so.’
Melisa Raouf, 20, from London, has reached the Miss England final after becoming the first ever beauty queen to appear make-up free at the pageant in its 94 year history (pictured, wearing makeup
She said she decided to take to the catwalk without any cosmetics or beauty products in the hope of inspiring other women to embrace their natural looks
Melisa explained: ‘When I started wearing make up at a young age, I never felt comfortable in my own skin.
‘I never felt I met beauty standards.’
Melisa said she took the unusual step of entering the competition bare-faced in a bid to promote inner beauty in an age of social media obsession.
Since appearing on the 94-year-old Miss England stage Melisa has had her inbox flooded with support from people who say she has ‘inspired them’.
Since appearing on the 94-year-old Miss England stage Melisa has had her inbox flooded with support from people who say she has ‘inspired them’ (left, wearing makeup in 2019, and right, in the contest)
The 20-year-old politics student sure made a statement when she decided to challenge beauty ideals with her stunning make-up free look
Melisa, who studies at King’s College London, said she will once again brave the catwalk make-up free when she appears at the Miss England final – and revealed she feels like she has done it for ‘all girls’.
She will now compete alongside 40 other women to be crowned Miss England on October 17 at the Heart of England Conference and Events Centre in Coventry.
Organizers of the world-famous pageant had previously introduced a ‘bare-face top model’ round but say it’s the first time they have known anyone to compete at the pageant without wearing make-up.
Melisa said: ‘It was quite a daunting experience but so amazing to win this way.
Organizers of the world-famous pageant had previously introduced a ‘bare-face top model’ round but say it’s the first time they have known anyone to compete at the pageant without wearing make-up (pictured)
‘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.
‘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.
Melisa smiled as she was announced the winner of a ground-breaking new category in the 94-year-old beauty pageant
Melisa, a politics student, took to the runway in a navy dress and sky blue nails in the Miss England competition – after winning the round for ‘bare faced top model’ in the semi final
The 20-year-old said she took the unusual step in a bid to promote inner beauty in an age of social media obsession
She said it is only recently she has ‘accepted’ that she is ‘beautiful in her own skin’ and is keen to promote the message to other women
‘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.
‘I feel like I’ve done it for all girls.’
Miss England organiser Angie Beasley said she introduced the Bare Face Top Model in 2019 after becoming shocked at the amount of make-up and filler contestants had.
Angie Beasley said: ‘I saw too many unrealistic images on Instagram and contestants thinking they needed to wear make-up to look beautiful.
‘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.
Melisa also won the bare-faced round of the Miss England pageant after organizers were ‘shocked’ at how much filler and cosmetics contestants were using they decided to introduce the new round – after 94 years of glamour and glitz
‘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.’