Beauty pageants, as we know, don't boast the best reputation for authenticity.
So, when the Miss England pageant recently introduced a makeup-free round, it came as a pleasant surprise.
Heats are currently being held for the pageant with just 54 contestants competing in a series of challenges before the winner is chosen to represent the country at the next Miss World.
As a new initiative for 2019, organisers have challenged entrants to submit photographs of themselves with no makeup, filters or editing – for the "Bare Face Top Model" round – after being left shocked by the number of young contestants turning to injectables such as fillers.
The criteria to enter is simple: submit a headshot and full-length image of yourself in a black vest and plain jeans, all without makeup, of course. The contestants will then be judged by a Fascia Models scout and the winner fast-tracked to the top 20.
“Recently we have been shocked to see Miss England contestants as young as 19 undergoing lip filler treatments and even Botox, and so many entering with full faces of thick makeup covering their natural beauty," discussing the new decision, Miss England director Angie Beasley said.
“We tell the girls they don’t need fillers, fake eyelashes and tattooed brows to enter our contest, but it just shows what a damaging effect edited social media images can have on young women’s self-esteem and mental health.
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“The difference between what impressionable women see on social media and TV and reality is getting out of hand, which is why we decided to launch this round for the first time in the pageant’s history – to address this serious issue," she continued.
“More than 20,000 young women entered Miss England this year, and it is really important for us to promote real beauty and body positivity.
"I'm hoping this round will encourage our contestants to wear less makeup."
While pushing for confidence and being your natural self is definitely essential, the round is completely optional and contestants are additionally encouraged to post their makeup-free photos on Instagram.
So, should an aspiring model want to, they could enter the competition through the traditional rounds and never have to shed the foundation. It's also why the motivation behind the initiative seems a little more like a publicity stunt, and a little less philanthropic.
The Miss England final is set to be held in Newcastle between July 31 and August 1, with the winner given a luxury holiday to Mauritius and a place in Miss World, which has a top prize of $100,000.
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