And People’s Most Beautiful goes to… Lupita Nyong’o!
The actress was announced as the recipient of People’s annual title Wednesday morning. Nyong’o told the magazine she’s thrilled about what this means: “I was happy for all the girls who would see me on [the cover] and feel a little more seen.”
Nyong’o, born in Mexico and raised in Kenya, has been outspoken about the lack of black women in media – and how she hopes her success will serve as inspiration for girls who may feel like their skin isn’t light enough to succeed. At Essence’s Black Women in Hollywood luncheon earlier this year, where Nyong’o was awarded Best Breakthrough Performance, she used her speech as an opportunity to tell a story about a young girl who was planning to lighten her skin before she discovered Nyong’o.
“I’m honored to be a symbol of hope to others like the women I used to watch made me feel,” Nyong’o said in her speech. “I hope my presence on screen leads other little girls on a similar journey [to] feel the validation of your own beauty inside and out.”
While Nyong’o hasn’t gone public with her next film plans yet, she was recently named the latest face of Lancome, following fellow actresses like Penélope Cruz and Emma Watson.
The Most Beautiful issue of People hits newsstands Friday.