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Lupita named Most Beautiful Woman in the world by People Magazine

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Lupita Nyong’o is People magazine’s Most Beautiful Person for 2014, besting other gorgeous ladies like Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts and Julianna Margulies.

The annual Most Beautiful cover was unveiled on the Today show Wednesday, April 23

“It was exciting and just a major, major compliment,” the 31-year-old says of gracing this year’s cover. And especially, “I was happy for all the girls who would see me on it and feel a little more seen.”

Born in Mexico and raised in Kenya, Nyong’o first equated beauty with what she saw on television: “Light skin and long, flowing, straight hair,” she says. “Subconsciously you start to appreciate those things more than what you possess.” Her mother, Dorothy, who is the managing director and head of PR for the Africa Cancer Foundation, “always said I was beautiful,” Nyong’o adds. “And I finally believed her at some point.”

“I want to take this opportunity to talk about beauty. Black beauty. Dark beauty. I received a letter from a girl and I’d like to share just a small part of it with you: ‘Dear Lupita,’ it reads, ‘I think you’re really lucky to be this Black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me.'”

“I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin. I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin,” Nyong’o added, wrapping her speech up with: “I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside. There is no shade in that beauty.”

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