Photos of Miss Universe Contestants Without Makeup

Miss Universe has done a makeup-free photo shoot with contestants for the last five years.

Miss Chile 2012 no makeup photo shoot


Miss Chile Antonia Figueroa during her makeup-free photo shoot.

Benjamin Askinas

“The first no-makeup photo shoot was in 2016, and it was so much fun,” photographer Benjamin Askinas told Insider. “And it caused an online uproar that I don’t think we expected — people loved it.”

Askinas said there’s a lot of pressure for pageant queens to always be “on,” and he believes the photos can be empowering for them as well.

“Many are constantly made-up while on tour with the show,” he continued. “This shoot is an opportunity for them to embrace their beauty and step outside of their comfort zone. I’m just really excited to be a part of that.”

Some contestants are randomly selected for the shoot and are explicitly told that they can’t wear any makeup.

Miss Ghana 2012 no-makeup photo shoot


Miss Ghana Silvia Naa Morkor Commodore during her makeup-free photo shoot.

Benjamin Askinas

Askinas talked to each of the selected pageant queens before the shoot, and gave them the option to skip it if they didn’t feel comfortable.

“Not only did they all choose to participate, but they were so excited to be a part of something that helps break the pageantry and beauty standards,” he told Insider.

And Askinas said he could see “an immediate physical change” in the women after showing them the first few images from their photo shoots.

“The way they hold themselves and view themselves is more self-assuring,” he said. “They walk away feeling more confident in their beauty, and it’s my favorite part of doing this shoot.”

Askinas believes it’s important to show pageant fans that “Miss Universe is a real human with imperfections and blemishes, just like us.”

Miss Venezuela 2012 no-makeup photo shoot


Miss Venezuela Luiseth Materán during her makeup-free photo shoot.

Benjamin Askinas

“We are constantly flooded with images of retouched and filtered faces and bodies,” Askinas said. “I think that social media is oversaturated with that content, and people see it too often.”

“These women, in particular, are in the spotlight and pressured to be ‘perfect.'” he added. “This shoot gives the delegates an opportunity to show a different side of themselves and their personalities. To see someone posting unfiltered photos today is to be different. People stop and take notice.”

Debbie Aflalo is representing the Dominican Republic.

Miss Dominican Republic 2021 and her no makeup photo


Miss Dominican Republic Debbie Aflalo took a makeup-free portrait ahead of the competition.

Miss Universe/Benjamin Askinas

Debbie Aflalo, 28, graduated with honors in international relations and diplomacy. She is now pursuing her master’s in international trade and dreams of becoming an ambassador to the United Nations.

Aflalo also has a technical degree in fashion and dressmaking. In her spare time, the pageant queen organizes garbage clean-up projects across the Dominican Republic, according to her Miss Universe bio.

Silvia Naa Morkor Commodore is representing Ghana.

Miss Ghana 2021 and her no makeup photo


Silvia Naa Morkor Commodore is 27 years old.

Miss Universe/Benjamin Askinas

Silvia Naa Morkor Commodore, 27, is currently studying business administration. She also works as a model and wedding planner, telling Insider that she loves making brides’ “ultimate dream come to a reality.”

Commodore dreams of opening a dance school one day. She says in her Miss Universe bio that she “aspires to be a pillar of hope for children who are forced to endure the ghastly nightmares of poverty in her community.”

Antonia Figueroa is representing Chile.

Miss Chile 2021 and her no makeup photo


Antonia Figueroa is 25 years old.

Miss Universe/Benjamin Askinas

Antonia Figueroa, 25, has a degree in environmental civil engineering and has taught herself how to speak four languages, including German. She plans to continue her studies in Berlin to get her master’s in renewable energy and water technology, according to the Miss USA website.

Figueroa is a regional champion in Taekwondo and recently received her first-degree black belt. She has also competed on “MasterChef Chile” and recently launched Volunteers for Children, enrolling people who are willing to provide free lessons to their communities.

Nandita Banna is representing Singapore.

Miss Singapore 2021 and her no makeup photo


Nandita Banna is 21 years old.

Miss Universe/Benjamin Askinas

Nandita Banna, 21, is currently working toward a double degree in business management and information systems at Singapore Management University. She is also a model and has worked with Vogue Singapore and Louis Vuitton, according to her Miss Universe bio.

Banna mentors underprivileged children at Care Corner Singapore, where she provides them with emotional support and teaches them interpersonal skills.

Eloisa Jo-Hannah Seifer is representing Germany.

Miss Germany 2021 and her no makeup photo


Eloisa Jo-Hannah Seifer is 19 years old.

Miss Universe/Benjamin Askinas

Eloisa Jo-Hannah Seifer, 19, is currently attending acting school. She also plans to study journalism, according to the Miss Universe website.

Seifer has traveled to 17 countries on three different continents but has a fear of flying. She is committed to “the environment, dogs, bullying, and mental illnesses.”

Luiseth Materán is representing Venezuela.

Miss Venezuela 2012 and her no makeup photo


Luiseth Materán is 25 years old.

Miss Universe/Benjamin Askinas

Luiseth Materán, 25, is currently the communications director for CEOS, an “international app that provides innovative learning skills,” according to her Miss Universe bio. She is also training to be an actress and has appeared in a TV series.

Materán is a spokesperson for HIV/AIDS prevention and gender equality. The pageant queen has also been a lifelong advocate for the rights of people with Down syndrome, inspired by her brother who was born with the condition.

Kawtar Benhalima is representing Morocco.

Miss Morocco 2021 headshot and her no makeup photo


Kawtar Benhalima is 22 years old.

Miss Universe/Benjamin Askinas

Kawtar Benhalima, 22, has a degree in business administration and plans to continue her studies in specialized education, according to her Miss Universe bio.

Benhalima has also lived in Paris, Singapore, and Barcelona, cultivating “a worldly view on life based on gratitude and acceptance.” She has worked with various organizations in Morocco to advocate for education and underprivileged communities.

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