A woman is making history as the first Miss England contestant to compete without makeup in the beauty pageant’s 94-year history. Melisa Raouf walked the catwalk fresh-faced at the semi-finals in London earlier this week. And the 20-year-old isn’t just breaking beauty pageant stereotypes; she also scored a spot in the Miss England finals.
She’s now set to compete against 40 other women to be crowned Miss England on October 17th. Melisa says she decided to go makeup-free in hopes of inspiring other women to embrace their natural beauty. She says she wants to eliminate the “toxic narrative” surrounding makeup and social media, and she plans to appear without makeup once again during the finals.
“It was quite a daunting experience, but so amazing to win this way,” Melisa says. “It means a lot to me as I feel many girls of different ages wear makeup because they feel pressured to do so. I think people should love and embrace their flaws and blemishes, as we know real beauty lies within simplicity.”