Beauty pageants don't exactly have a longstanding reputation for authenticity. So when Miss England recently introduced a makeup free round, it came as a pleasant surprise. Called the "Bare Face Top Model" round, the competition is apparently aiming to give contestants a chance to show off their more natural side.
The criteria to enter is simple: submit a headshot and full length image of yourself in a black vest and plain jeans, all sans makeup, of course. The contestants will then be judged by a Fascia Models scout and the winner fast tracked to the top 20.
"I'm hoping this round will encourage our contestants to wear less makeup," said Angie Beasley, founder of Miss England. "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."
One participant, Bhasha Mukherjee, also shared her thoughts on taking part in the competition earlier last month. "So as part of my #MissEngland2019 journey I had to rise up to the challenge and bare it all on camera," she wrote in an Instagram post.
"Make up is a means of enhancement but how often do the lines get blurred between enhancement and concealment. So often we just hide behind a film of products and even artificial cosmetic enhancements be it Botox or fillers," she wrote.
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 "anti makeup" movement has picked up to a great extent in the past few years, with the likes of Kylie Jenner, Priyanka Chopra, Hailey Baldwin and Cindy Crawford all sharing #MakeUpFree selfies encouraging fans to celebrate their natural selves.
Photography: Arya Mukherjee