Lupita Nyong’o Becomes The 2nd African Girl To Cover Vogue

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Move over Beyonce, there’s a new queen in town! You already know her name: Lupita Nyong’o.

Lupita is this July’s American Vogue covergirl, and becomes only the second African woman and 9th black woman to cover this prestigious fashion tome.

That in itself is an awesome feat. Not just because of her skin color, but because Lupita has burst onto the film, fashion and cultural scene in a dynamic way. She not only represents diversity, but she speaks about it and encourages it.

She has been very open and vulnerable about her own insecurities with her dark skin tone, but is now using those past fears as fuel to empower women everywhere who feel they don’t fit in because of any physical aspect.

When she stood on the stage to accept her Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress she held that gold statue tight and told the audience, as well as the millions of girls watching on TV around the world that this was for them, and that they should never ever give up on their dreams.

“When I look down at this golden statue,” she said, “may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.”

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Aside from hr major win, she has been gracing the cover of plenty of magazines, and was recently named the new face of beauty brand Lancome. She spoke about this in her Vogue interview, saying her and the other celebrity ambassadors Julia Roberts, Kate Winslet, and Penélope Cruz, “are very different, unique women—it’s not about conforming to an already established idea of what is beautiful, and I like that.”

“I too remember a time when I felt un-beautiful,” was something the 31 year old said at the Essence Magazine Black Women of Hollywood luncheon right before the Oscars in January, and also what she said to Vogue editors before her cover shoot in Morocco.

“I felt how valuable and vital such representation is.”

Lupita is a woman filled with poise, intelligence, beauty and power in a way that we have never seen before of someone as young who has just entered the Hollywood scene. We’re so used to seeing young Hollywood actresses promote their films or their own selfish desires. So when we see women who use their fame for any form of greater good, it is enthralling!

The Kenyan-born Lupita is the daughter of an African diplomat who moved the family around with his work quite a bit. Lupita spent a fair amount of time in Mexico growing up, before eventually moving to the states to study drama at Yale, and begin her film career as a production assistant on the Ralph Fiennes movie ‘The Constant Gardner’.

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At one point she considered a different career path because as a young African girl growing up in Kenya, it wasn’t seen as something viable. In other words, there weren’t any other women like her who had done it before. Now that she herself has made a successful career, imagine the impact it is going to have on all the other young women in countries like Kenya who dream of doing something other than the status quo or what is culturally acceptable for them.

It’s not just about helping other women become successful actresses, it’s about showing them that anything is possible.

Two projects Lupita has on the boil are a role in the upcoming ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ movie coming out Christmas 2015, as well as co-producing the screen adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s popular book ‘Americanah’ with her ’12 Years A Slave’ co-star Brad Pitt and his production company Plan B.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to be working in these fantastical realms,” she says to Vogue. “They’re worlds away from ’12 Years a Slave’, that’s for sure, but that kind of diversity is what dreams are made of.”

For every woman to live in a world where there are no color lines, or gender distinctions when it comes to calling upon someone for their merit, is something we all dream of. Until then, there are powerful people in the world, such as celebrities, who have been placed on a unique platform where they can advance that dream.

Thank God for women like Lupita Nyong’o who take up the call and pave the way for others who dare to dream, just like she did.

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