Lupita Nyong’o Crowned Glamour Woman of the Year

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Lupita Nyong’o has conquered the world within a year’s time. The 31-year-old star has made such an impact in the realm of film and fashion that her impression on the industries during her high-speed rise to stardom has been named “The Lupita Effect”.

Captivating the hearts of many, Nyong’o was nominated for several awards including a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress, a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and two Screen Actors Guild Awards including Best Supporting Actress.

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Nyong’o won an Academy Award for her first role, 12 Years a Slave; was named a new face of Lancôme; scored the cover of People‘s Most Beautiful issue; and landed key roles in two upcoming films, The Jungle Book and Star Wars: Episode VII. In more than eight decades of the Academy Awards, only seven black women have won an acting Oscar and Miss Nyong’o is a part of that elite group. She’s also paved the way for others to follow in winning the Academy Award by being the first African actress to win the award, the first Kenyan actress to win an Oscar, and the first Mexican citizen to win the award. She also became the fifteenth actress to win an Oscar for a debut performance in a feature film.

When asked about her astounding accomplishments and becoming an overnight success her response was,“Right now I’m still adjusting. I guess I feel catapulted into a different place; I have a little whiplash,” she said. “I did have a dream to be an actress, but I didn’t think about being famous. And I haven’t yet figured out how to be a celebrity; that’s something I’m learning, and I wish there were a course on how to handle it.”

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Whether it be consumers selling out a brand of lip gloss Nyong’o owns or designers casting more women of color on the runway, “The Lupita Effect” has made a lasting impression.

“I’ve heard people talk about images in popular culture changing, and that makes me feel great, because it means that the little girl I was, once upon a time, has an image to instill in her that she is beautiful, that she is worthy,” she said. “Until I saw people who looked like me, doing the things I wanted to, I wasn’t so sure it was a possibility.”

Nyong’o looked up to Oprah as a role model, or in her words “ a reference point”, to understand what it meant to be female and to step into your own power. Unbeknownst to Nyong’o, she too, has now become a reference point for all young black girls aspiring to live out their own destiny but her sense of importance is being accountable to those who were with her before the celebrity status.

“I feel a responsibility to myself and my parents and the people whose love has gotten me this far—people who were in my life before fame. That’s where I get my sense of self. It’s deadly for anyone to take on that role of a deity; it’s not sustainable.

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Nyong’o spoke in retrospect when her elementary school teacher depicted her dark skin to be less than worthy.

“One of my teachers said, ‘Where are you going to find a husband? How are you going to find someone darker than you?’ I was mortified,” she said.

“I remember seeing a commercial where a woman goes for an interview and doesn’t get the job. Then she puts a cream on her face to lighten her skin, and she gets the job! This is the message: that dark skin is unacceptable.”

Nyong’o’s teacher was just one of many voices projecting the European view of what society deems as acceptable or beautiful. Regardless of the self-hate she was taught, there’s no denying that Nyong’o has a gorgeous bone structure and a glow for the gods to envy. Though she’s not naïve to her flawless image, she realizes that to be truly beautiful you must have substance beyond the surface of a pretty smile.

“Lovely genes! But to rely on the way you look is empty. You’re a pretty face—and then what? Your value is in yourself; the other stuff will come and go. We don’t get to pick the genes we want. There’s room in this world for beauty to be diverse.”

Nyong’o’s race to fame may have been a speedy success but something tells me she’s just getting started and I can’t wait to see what more she has in store for the world. Glamour’s December issue featuring Nyong’o hits newsstands nationwide on Nov. 11 and I for sure will be getting a copy.

To hear more about Nyon’go’s childhood and her upcoming work click below

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