Miss England finalists have posed for photos without any make-up in a bid to promote natural beauty as they compete to be crowned Britain’s “Bare Face Top Model”.
A dozen beauty queens have bravely shared their bare face images without any filters, cosmetics or editing as they took part in a new round of the pageant.
It was started two years ago as a way to empower women, boost confidence and to promote a more realistic body image in an age of social media obsession.
Contestants say the progressive initiative is about making other women feel proud of their natural beauty and being comfortable in their own skin.
Miss South Kensington Natasha Chittoo, 19, said she wanted to take part to highlight an important issue at a time of “unhealthy competition” between young girls.
She added: “Participating in the bare faced round was something I really wanted to do.
“I feel very passionately about speaking up on matters such as expectations from social media, unhealthy competition amongst young girls and learning how to embrace your natural beauty.
“It is crucial to understand the overriding importance of personality and qualities from within that ultimately shine through.”
Miss York Elizabeth Martin, 22, from York, said: “This round is especially close to my heart.
“I believe so strongly that young men and women face unprecedented pressure, in part due to what they see on social media, to meet expectations that are both unrealistic and damaging to mental health and wellbeing.
“The filtering and editing of photographs is a still very present issue in popular media today, and not nearly enough is done to present young people with role models in the public eye who give a genuine reflection of their appearance.
“This round has allowed each of us to demonstrate that we are all beautiful not in spite of our imperfections, but because of them.”
Miss North West Eleanor Farr, 26, of Malpas, Cheshire, said: “I never wear makeup – the extent of my makeup ability is a bit of mascara.
“It is so refreshing to see a round which personifies who I am.
“I think more girls should embrace who they are without feeling the need to hide their natural beauty.
“We should be proud of who we are and the imperfections which give us our unique character.”
Miss Lancashire Jessica Gagen 25, from Skelmersdale, Lancs., said: “I wanted to take part in this round as growing up I used to be majorly self conscious of my lashes and brows – they’re basically invisible without mascara.
“To all of the redheads in school who are getting teased just like I did, I want you to know that you’re not alone. You’re not ‘an alien’ and you don’t ‘look weird’.
“You and your white lashes are completely perfect as you are.”
Miss Essex Emily Cumming, 23, of Southend, added: “The reason that I decided to enter this round is because if how important I feel it is to be comfortable in your own skin.
“This time last year if you were to say to me that I’d be in the final for Miss England, I would have laughed at you and thought you were crazy.
“I absolutely hated the way I looked and felt about myself and would avoid looking in reflections or mirrors.
“But the last year has been full of changes for me and I really feel that anything is possible now.”
Miss London Jessica Kang, 26, said: “I am so proud to have taken part in this very empowering round, promoting natural beauty and confidence in my own skin.
“This round is so important as in our world today social media has a big influence on young people by portraying unrealistic beauty standards.
“This round helps us to encourage girls on our own social media platforms to embrace natural beauty, rather than using filters and photoshop to keep up with Instagram standard pictures.
“Both men and women of today are constantly comparing themselves to what they see on social media and are battling identity issues due to these beauty standards.
“It’s causing serious mental health issues and the bare face round can hopefully send a message across, that we are all beautiful with or without makeup.”
Miss England organiser Angie Beasley said she introduced the round after becoming shocked at the amount of contestants undergoing lip filler treatments and even Botox.
She also saw too many “unrealistic” images on Instagram and contestants thinking they needed to wear make-up to look beautiful.
She added: “It encourages contestants to show us who they really are without the need to hide behind makeup and filters on social media.”
Get all the latest news sent to your inbox. Sign up for the free Mirror newsletter
Former Miss Newcastle Rebecca Gormley became Miss England’s first Bare Face Top Model winner in 2019.
Rebecca is now a successful model and Instagram influencer and appeared on the ITV Love Island program last year.
She has been invited to be a judge at the Miss England national final, which will be held at the Heart of England Conference and Events Centre in Coventry on August 27.
The top three Bare Face Top Models will be announced at the Hotel Rafael London on August 2.