By Iain Watts
Miss England has launched a completely makeup free round for the first time in the pageant’s history – to support body positivity and real beauty.
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.
The winner of the ‘Bare Face Top Model’ winner will then be fast-tracked through to the final 20 in the contest.
Director Angie Beasley said: “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.
“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.
“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.
“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 hope going forward, the introduction of this round will encourage our contestants to wear less makeup overall.
“If you look at our Miss England former winners, most are natural beauties compared with many of the usual celebrities, which provides a much more positive role model for young women.”
A scout from London modelling agency Fascia Models will also study bare-faced images of the finalists.
Current Miss England Alisha Cowie, from Newcastle, often goes without makeup in selfies on social media.
She is an ambassador for UK charity Papyrus, which campaigns to prevent suicide in young people.
The Miss England final is set to be held in Newcastle between July 31 and August 1.