20-year-old becomes the first contestant on Miss England to compete without makeup

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Melisa. Miss England Top40 contestant. Images via Instagram (Collage by Futhi Masilela)
Melisa. Miss England Top40 contestant. Images via Instagram (Collage by Futhi Masilela)
  • Women across the world are changing the world's beauty standards on all platforms.
  • A 20-year-old politics student, Melisa Raouf, made it to the Top 40 of Miss England without wearing makeup.
  • She says this experience was daunting but she had to do it for all other girls to feel good about themselves.

Pageants have always enforced beauty standards on women and over the years we have seen a shift in what defines beauty. In South Africa, we witnessed Zozibini Tunzi redefine what a pageant queen looks like and not only doing it in our country but on the Miss Universe stage for the entire world to see.

Hoping to make a similar impact is 20-year-old Politics student, Melisa Raouf. Melisa is the first Miss England contestant in the pageant's 94-year history to compete with a bare face.

READ MORE | Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan was 'terrified' to leave the house without makeup

The Miss England beauty pageant took place this past week and Melisa made it all the way to the Top 40 without wearing any make-up. The 20-year-old wanted to make a statement on what defines beauty in this generation, too often driven by social media platform filters.

"It was quite a daunting experience but so amazing to win this. It means a lot to me as I feel many girls of different ages wear make-up because they feel pressured to do so. Our flaws make us who we are and that's what makes every individual unique," she told LADbible.

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"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. I would love to use my Miss England platform to empower natural beauty and eliminate this toxic mindset," she added.

The King's College student will be competing alongside 40 other women who are hoping to get crowned in October.

READ MORE | This project challenged young girls to edit their images until they were social media ready and the results highlight #selfieharm

The organiser of the beauty pageant Angie Beasley said that although she's all for make-up, she does feel young women go too far. 

"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 other contestants. I'm all for makeup to enhance your natural beauty but there's no need for youngsters to wear it so thick that it looks like a mask," she says.

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Since claiming a spot in the 40 of the beauty pageant, Melisa has been getting a lot of love from women on social media and she says she's also planning on competing in the finals without make-up. 

"I've had so many girls message me telling me how I've made them feel more confident in themselves."

Sources: LADbible, Mirror, CNN

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