Ever since face filters and photo edits took over social media, general public aesthetics have been skewered towards a kind of face with poreless skin, plump lips, slanted eyes, and high cheekbones. An airbrushed look similar to celebrities is hard to resist and easier to gain affirmative “likes” from other people. The consequence — is an online world of beauties lacking individuality and increasingly divorced from reality.
Melisa Raouf, a 20-year-old politics student from Kings College London, has defied the monopoly of the Instagram face by competing in the Miss England pageant with a barefaced look. “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,” she reportedly said.
Miss Raouf has made it to the Miss England final, winning the Bare-face Top Model round of the competition Monday, Aug. 22, in London. Although the bare-faced round was introduced into the contest in 2019, this is the first time that a contestant competes with zero make-up.
What people are saying…
While Miss Raouf has made headlines across the globe for her courage and advocacy for natural looks, some have doubted if it is too much show-off from someone who is already so blessed with natural beauty compared to those who are less fortunate.
Others question the point of advocating feminine confidence in a contest that notoriously objectifies women.
In the meantime, the online community has always been critical of the beauty contestant’s looks. Many discussions have centered on whether the contestant’s competing look is 100% authentic. Some suspect secretive application of mascara or Vaseline to enhance the natural look.
What the finalist is saying…
Nonetheless, the courageous contestant has decided to compete in the October Miss England final without make-up and if wins, leave off for the Miss World final without make-up too.
My aim is to continuously promote natural beauty to help encourage and empower other women in making them feel comfortable in their own skin with no makeup on.Melisa Raouf
Whatever the result is, Miss Raouf has already made history with what she has done and what it stands for. She has shown young girls worldwide a new way to look at themselves other than through the filtered face images promoted by social media. Many people have been drawn to the beauty finalist by the human side of her image, her visible pores, her dark eye circles, and most importantly, her youth and beauty untainted by her imperfections.