Nadiya Hussain says she wasn’t allowed to wear make-up in the Great British Bake Off tent

·3-min read
Nadiya Hussain says she wasn’t allowed to wear make-up in the Great British Bake Off tent

Nadiya Hussain has claimed that she was not allowed to wear make-up in the Great British Bake Off tent.

The 2015 winner of the hit Channel 4 baking show shared the surprising news after being named the newest brand ambassador for IT cosmetics.

It’s a rule that has either been relaxed or ignored, however, as a number of contestants over the years – including those from Hussain’s 2015 intake – have baked up a storm while wearing make-up.

The 37-year-old TV chef disclosed the regulation during a recent interview with Metro, adding: “I look back sometimes and think, ‘Girl, you should have put some Vaseline on at least!’” she said.

Hussain admitted that she only started wearing make-up later in life due to a lack of confidence and difficulties finding the right shade for her skin tone.

She said: “I came to make-up very, very late in life,” adding that she was 29-years-old before she bought her first lipstick.

“My older sister’s got really fair porcelain skin, my second sister has the same skin colour as me, and she could never find a foundation.

“Seeing my sister struggle to find make-up for herself meant I never really went into that world.”

Despite this, she says that wearing make-up now makes her feel “powerful”.

She said: “Unless you’ve been in a position where you’ve not been able to access a particular shade of make-up, you would never really understand what that means for women like us, who can now go into a shop and find every shade and everything in between to not only suit your colour but suit your skin type.”

It’s not the first time the champion baker has spoken out about the struggle to accept her skin colour.

In a 2021 BBC Three documentary, the TV presenter revealed that she had previously wanted “to bleach the brown out of me” in a bid to “be like everyone else”.

In Being British Bangladeshi, she said: “I’m not going to lie for a second and tell you that there aren’t times I’ve wanted to bleach the brown out of me because life would have been so much easier if I wasn’t brown, if I wasn’t Bangladeshi.

“If I could just be like everybody else, but I come with all those layers that I do represent and I understand the importance of that now,” she said.

Of her new partnership with IT cosmetics, however, she appears to be more optimistic.

“It is not always easy to celebrate the thing that makes you different,” she admitted.

“It has always been my skin. The colour that my body is enveloped in has made me feel excluded and unsure of the thing that I am most proud of today.

“To find a product that not only allows me to wear my skin with even more confidence but also makes me feel prouder of who I am, is the kind of campaign that I want to put my face to,” she said.

The Independent has contacted Channel 4 for comment.