In a push to combat unrealistic beauty standards, Melisa Raouf recently became the first Miss England pageant contestant to compete fully without makeup.
Raouf made it to the finals of the competition in 2022, joining the ranks of the top five competitors. While she did not win the pageant, she has inspired a social media movement for women worldwide to feel confident in their own skin.
Raouf is credited with starting the bare-face movement, which encourages women to disregard makeup and photo filters that manipulate their perceptions of themselves.
"I never really expected it to go so worldwide or so global, even though I'm actually glad it did, so we can spread its positive message, and show women all across the world that we don't need to conform to societal standards to feel and look beautiful," she tells Sonia Baghdady of Advocate Now.
Melisa Raouf | Advocate Now
Raouf continues: "I have nothing against makeup. Makeup's a form of art, it's a form of creativity. But you shouldn't let it define you."
As beauty pageants are often criticized for contributing to women's unrealistic beauty standards, Raouf sees competing without makeup as a way to take back her power and showcase the traits that truly define her.
She says: "That's what I really wanted to show, is that your confidence will radiate far, far much more than your outer beauty ever will."
For more interviews like these, watch Advocate Now on The Advocate Channel.
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