People Magazine‘s annual “50 Most Beautiful” issue is hitting the newsstands and it is revealed that Hollywood’s newest “it” girl, Lupita Nyong’o, will grace the cover. This is certainly the year of Nyong’o, who has been riding a wave of Tinseltown accolades since clinching the Academy Award for best supporting actress back in February. Since bringing attention for her role as the headstrong field slave Patsy, who was the object of her master’s lust in director Steve McQueen’s Oscar-winning Best picture 12 Years a Slave, Nyong’o has most recently starred opposite Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore in the action-thriller Non-Stop.
The 31-year-old Kenyan, who was born in Mexico, has been receiving attention for her beauty as well as her acting. The stylish starlet has become quite the fashion icon and has landed on numerous best dressed lists at red carpet appearances with clothing designers like Prada and Tom Ford all clamoring for her to wear their designs. Nyong’o has also graced countless magazine covers and the “coco-complexioned ” beauty has most recently signed a lucrative endorsement deal with the cosmetics company Lancome.
Being tapped as People Magazine‘s newest Cover Girl, beating out other beauties like Jennifer Lawrence and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton for the top spot, reveals and further marks Nyong’o’s undeniable poise and presence and continues to push the changing tides surrounding western culture and its standards that dictate what and who is considered beautiful. The stunning actress, while delighted with the honor, confesses she has never been secure with her looks as a young girl growing up, having never seen images in the media that she could identify with. The Oscar winner, who received her education at Hampshire College and later earned a master’s degree at the Yale School of Drama, says that she never would have imagined the amount of attention she is now receiving, and expressed her excitement at such major compliments. On being People’s newest cover girl, Nyong’o says she is especially happy in how her presence will make other young girls who have felt invisible now feel a bit more seen.
Nyong’o recently said in an eloquent and heart-felt speech at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon that the pride she now feels in her chocolate-toned skin was never actualized growing up until she saw South Sudanese Alek Wek get catapulted to super-model stardom. It was then that she truly believed that she too could be considered beautiful.
The special People Magazine 50 Most Beautiful People issue which hits news stands this Friday has been a staple for the publication since the early 1990’s, and has featured other Hollywood starlets in the past like Julia Roberts, Halle Berry, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Beyonce. Among those making the 2014 list are Scandal star Kerry Washington, star of The Mindy Project Mindy Kaling, Gabrielle Union from BET’s Being Mary Jane, pop/rock singer Pink, super-model Molly Sims, and Stacey Keibler, former girlfriend of People Magazine‘s sexiest man alive George Clooney. Also making the list are Kerri Russell, Amber Heard, and Jenna Tewan-Tatum, all women, just like Nyong’o, demonstrating beauty in their own respective ways both inside and out.
By Hal Banfield