A No-Makeup Model Just Became A Miss England Pageant Finalist & She's Embracing Her 'Flaws'
"Wearing makeup should not be the default option."
It's hard to keep up with today's Instagram-ready beauty standards, and that's why one U.K. model is winning a bunch of fans with her no-makeup approach to the Miss England pageant.
Melisa Raouf, a 20-year-old police student from the south of London, recently became the first contestant to go makeup-free in the 94-year history of the pageant, according to The Independent.
And she just might win it, because she's now one of the finalists.
"For so long, I felt as if I was never complete without wearing makeup," she wrote in a heartfelt Instagram post on Monday, after making the finals. "Only very recently have I accepted that inner confidence will always shine far more radiantly than any amount of makeup, and doing so has been liberating."
Raouf went "bare-faced" for the Miss England semi-finals last week, in a move aimed at defying current beauty standards and encouraging women to feel "confident in their own skin."
She did so well in the semis that she'll now compete in the 40-person final next month.
"Melisa is the first Miss England Contestant ever to make it to the final totally makeup-free," the pageant's Instagram account recently wrote. "Isn't she gorgeous!"
"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.
"Our flaws make us who we are, and that's what makes every individual unique."
Despite wearing makeup from a young age, Raouf ditched it for the pageant and has been competing as a bare-faced contestant The skincare line Cetuem Cosmetics has been sponsoring her on her journey.
"I think people should love and embrace their flaws and blemishes, as we know real beauty lies within simplicity," she said. "I have recently accepted that I am beautiful in my own skin, and that's why I decided to compete with no makeup."
Raouf's social media has been flooded with positive messages, and she hopes she's helping others by pushing this bare-faced trend.
"I did not expect my story to spread globally as it has done, but I am delighted that it has, and I hope that it can make a difference to so many women and girls," she wrote in her recent Instagram post.
"Although I do still believe that it is OK to use makeup, we should not let makeup define our appearance."
Miss England pageant organizers first added makeup-free rounds to the competition in 2019, but Raouf is the first woman to go all the way through the competition without it.
"Wearing makeup should not be the default option, but a choice," she wrote on Instagram.
"Women should be able to embrace their differences."
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