Miss England pageant launches makeup-free round for first time

'It is really important to us to promote real beauty and body positivity'

Sabrina Barr
Wednesday 26 June 2019 16:00 BST
A finalist at the 2013 Miss England competition
A finalist at the 2013 Miss England competition (Getty Images)

The Miss England contest has introduced a makeup-free round for the first time at the pageant.

The "Bare Face Top Model" round is an optional round that has been conceived by Miss England organiser Angie Beasley.

"I'm hoping this round will encourage our contestants to wear less makeup," Beasley said.

“I see so many of our contestants entering with a face full of make up covering their natural beauty. Fake eyelashes and brows, there really is no need for this to enter our contest."

To take part in the round, contestants need to submit a headshot and full-length photograph of themselves wearing a black vest top and jeans and wearing no makeup, before posting the pictures on social media.

The submitted photographs will be assessed by a scout from Fascia Models before the winner is chosen.

The victor of the "Bare Face Top Model" round will be announced at the Miss England final, which is taking place from Wednesday 31 July until Thursday 1 August in Newcastle.

They will also be fast-tracked into the top 20 contestants at the competition.

One of the pageant's participants, Bhasha Mukherjee, shared her makeup-free photographs on Instagram.

"So as part of my #MissEngland2019 journey I had to rise up to the challenge and bare it all on camera," the model and actor wrote in the Instagram caption.

"Makeup is a means of enhancement but how often do the lines get blurred between enhancement and concealment."

Mukherjee continued, stating that people often "hide behind a film of products", such as Botox and fillers.

While some may view the introduction of the "Bare Face Top Model" round as a positive move, the issues which surround beauty pageants – such as the lack of diversity of contestants – are still cause for debate.

Earlier this year, the Miss India beauty pageant was criticised after the judges of the competition were accused of choosing "cloned" finalists, all of whom appeared to have fair skin.

“Miss India contestants. They all have the same hair, and the SAME SKIN COLOUR, and I'm going to hazard a guess that their heights and vital stats will also be similar. So much for India being a 'diverse' country," one critic tweeted.

In 2016, former Miss Great Britain Zara Holland had her title stripped from her after it was implied she had taken part in a sexual act while appearing on ITV2's Love Island.

Last year, Miss America announced it had scrapped the swimsuit and evening gown rounds from its competition, stating: "We are no longer a pageant. We are a competition."

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Last year, Muslim student Sara Iftekhar became the first Miss England contestant to compete in the final stages of the pageant while wearing a hijab.

The law student from West Yorkshire had been crowned Miss Huddersfield earlier in the year.

“It was an incredible experience and something which I will never be able to forget,” she wrote on Instagram.

“The opportunities which I have received with being a finalist in Miss England are opportunities which I would never have thought of, and will forever be grateful for.”

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