A finalist for the Miss England title has set herself apart by showing her true face in the competition. Melisa Raouf, 20, who has long worn makeup, made her decision after a bare-faced semifinal round Monday, CNN reports. She plans to compete the same way in the final in October. "I never felt I met beauty standards," Raouf said in an interview with the Independent. "I have recently accepted that I am beautiful in my own skin and that's why I decided to compete with no makeup." The college student from south London posted a photo of her look in that round on Instagram, after "embracing blemishes and imperfections."
The pageant's director said Friday that the Bare Face Top Model round was added two years ago. "Most contestants were submitting highly edited images wearing lots of makeup, and we wanted to see the real person behind the makeup," Angie Beasley said. Raouf, who introduced herself in a video on YouTube, said girls are pressured to wear makeup. "If one is happy in their own skin we should not be made to cover up our face with makeup," she said. "Our flaws make us who we are and that's what makes every individual unique." Beasley said competing bare-faced is "a very brave thing to do when everyone else is wearing makeup, but she's sending out an important message to young women." (Read more beauty pageant stories.)