Lupita Nyong’o’s PEOPLE Cover Finally Promotes Dark Skinned Beauty

Lupita-Nyongo

Actress and Academy award winner Lupita Nyong’o is not just the latest and hottest gal to hit Hollywood, but she is also creating a wide open space for women of color. Not to say that there haven’t been mighty accomplished ethnic women before her, it’s just that she represents a young generation of women who are embracing their skin color and everything that makes them unique.

Her speech at the Essence Magazine Women of Hollywood Luncheon where she spoke about waking up every day wishing her skin was white showed that she too struggled with the same insecurities as most of us ethnic girls do growing up, being surrounded by such homogeneity on TV and in film. It was only after she started seeing women like Oprah Winfrey and Sudanese Model Alek Wek having such visibility on screen internationally that she started to have hope about her own looks.

“My one prayer to God was that I would wake up lighter skinned,” she said. “The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of the mirror because I wanted to see my face first. Every day I would feel the disappointment of being just as dark as the day before.”

Aside from all the magazine covers and product deals she was engulfed in after her Oscar win, she never once let her foot slip in saying that she relishes every bit of exposure because it means that she can serve as an inspiration for another black girl just like her, who is currently growing up with the same insecurities which plagued her as a child in Kenya.

The Yale drama graduate has just been named People Magazine’s ‘Most Beautiful Person’ for 2014. This is pretty epic for two reasons: 1. she is only the third black woman to hold this top spot, and 2. she is the only dark skinned woman to ever be named number one. The previous two black women are Halle Berry (2003) and Beyonce (2010).

Lupita-Nyongo

“It was exciting and just a major, major compliment,” the 31-year-old said. “I was happy for all the girls who would see me on [it] and feel a little more seen.”

She says her success and the type of attention she gets these days is the complete opposite of what her view of beauty was growing up: “Light skin and long, flowing, straight hair,” she says. “Subconsciously you start to appreciate those things more than what you possess.”

These days she counts happiness and kindness as traits that are more important and which she would rather spend time nurturing, than worrying about her appearance. But it makes us wonder, if Lupita is only the 3rd black woman in Hollywood to top the People Magazine list, what about other ethnicities that are yet to be represented? What about other “best” and “most beautiful” lists that are absent from a variety of races?

Sure, it takes time, but that small first step has to be taken for the gates to completely open wide. Lupita may be a beacon of hope for dark-skinned girls everywhere, but she is also a great example for industries such as advertising, beauty and fashion that an ideal “look” should not be a selling point for anything. but diversity.

We love to promote women of all races and all backgrounds, so if you want us to include a woman who fits this type, let us know and you can be sure that GTHQ is the platform to promote diversity.

The perception of beauty is constantly changing and if we can do our part to promote and collate all the positive encouraging messages, then hopefully we can help other young women feel better about themselves.

For a woman who grew up thinking she was “the least beautiful” girl, she sure is making a grand statement by topping People Magazine’s list. Watch the video below of Lupita meeting her beauty hero Alek Wek in person! What a cool ‘full circle’ moment for her, hearing Alek Wek calling her an inspiration to many other girls out there:

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