Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o has been named the most beautiful person in the world for 2014 by People magazine.
Lupita, 31, said she “never dreamed” she would be praised for her looks and find herself on the US weekly’s cover.
Lupita’s film début in 12 Years a Slave won her an Oscar for best supporting actress last month.
Subsequently Lupita won her first major endorsement, becoming the new face of French cosmetics giant Lancome.
Lupita said: “I was happy for all the girls who would see me on it and feel a little more seen”.
In February, Nyong’o gave a speech at Essence magazine’s Black Women in Hollywood event, saying: “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. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned.”
“I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me as beautiful … a flower couldn’t help but bloom inside of me.”
The People magazine award has only been given to women of colour three times since it was launched in 1990: Halle Berry in 2003, Jennifer Lopez in 2011 and Beyoncé in 2012.
Originally from Kenya, the actress’ meteoric rise since her role in the 12 Years a slave has seen her become a house hold name globally and a source of pride for Black women and women of colour. Apart from her undeniable acting skills, Lupita has become well known for her style and impeccable taste in fashion, shinning and evolving throughout the 2014 awards season. This has stamped her reputation as a global style icon, winning her endorsements in the fashion and beauty industry. This award from People magazine will be seen as a great step forward in the recognition of women of colour in the entertainment industry. She