Lupita Nyong’o is People magazine’s Most Beautiful Person for 2014, the publication revealed Wednesday morning. The Oscar winner with the perfect smile and the style to match beams from a cover that promises “her inspiring story.”
For the 31-year-old Mexican-born Kenyan actress, it’s a story that largely came to light during awards season as she collected trophies at every turn for her role in the film “12 Years a Slave.” Along the way she turned heads on all the red carpets upon which she set foot, as her poise and beauty landed her on best-dressed lists and countless other magazine covers.
With the full range of the color spectrum at her effortless disposal, Nyong’o wowed in red Ralph Lauren at the Golden Globes and stole the show in emerald green Dior at the BAFTAs.
Appearances in purple, pink, white and more were only trumped when she completed her run as a picture of perfection in blue Prada at the Oscars.
Today’s Savannah Guthrie recently sat down for an exclusive interview with Nyong’o, who expressed her appreciation for the People cover nod.
“I’m flattered, but flattered sounds like such a flighty word, you know?” Nyong’o said. “I’m flattered with, like, gravitas under it.”
When she was honored in February at the Black Women in Hollywood luncheon, a speech she gave on beauty, and “dark beauty” in particular, touched a viral nerve. She said she remembered a time when she felt “unbeautiful,” when she was “teased and taunted for her night-shaded skin” and how her complexion “had always been an obstacle to overcome.”
Nyong’o said her mother’s words encouraged her to understand that “you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What does sustain us … what is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul.”
“What an incredible journey to go from that feeling to being on the cover of this magazine,” Nyong’o told Guthrie. “I mean, you could have never told me that that would happen when I was 16 and insecure about my complexion.”