Lupita Nyong’o on Learning to Love Herself

It's Lupita Nyong'o's world and we're just living with it. Case in point: her win for Best Supporting Actress in 12 Years a Slave, and the empowering speech that went along with it. ("Your dreams are valid.")

But the wise words don't stop there. Talking about beauty and learning to love her dark skin at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon this weekend, Nyong'o explained how model Alek Wek helped her love her dark skin.

"As a celebrated model, she was dark as night, she was on all of the runways and in every magazine and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was," she explained. "Even Oprah called her beautiful and made it a fact. My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden Oprah was telling me it wasn't. It was perplexing and I wanted to reject it because I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy."

"But a flower couldn't help but bloom inside of me," she continued. "When I saw Alek, I inadvertently saw a reflection of myself that I could not deny. Now, I had a spring in my step because I felt more seen, more appreciated by the far away gatekeepers of beauty."

Lupita Nyong'o, teach us how to sound so eloquent. Also, thank you for standing up against the warped views those gatekeepers attempt to inflict on all of us. Here's to more actresses and women like Nyong'o, having the guts to open up about their experiences with distorted self images (and how to overcome them).


Tags: Lupita Nyong'o, Oscars 2014

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