Lupita Nyong’o: “I Finally Believed”

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Her pictures are everywhere and her name is on everyone’s lips. Kenyan-Mexican Lupita Nyong’o was the star of the award season and subsequently won her very own Academy Award for best supporting actress. She also recently landed a contract with Lancome Paris and has been named People Magazine’s Most Beautiful of 2014, but Lupita “never dreamed” she would be touted as “Most Beautiful” for all the world to see.

“It was exciting and just a major, major compliment,” the 33-year-old says of gracing the 2014 cover. And especially, “I was happy for all the girls who would see me on [it] and feel a little more seen.”

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Born in Mexico and raised in Kenya, Nyong’o first equated beauty with what she saw on television: “Light skin and long, flowing, straight hair,” she says. “Subconsciously you start to appreciate those things more than what you possess.” Her mother, Dorothy, who is the managing director and head of PR for the Africa Cancer Foundation, “always said I was beautiful,” Nyong’o adds. “And I finally believed her at some point.”

As a teen, Nyong’o dyed her hair every color – except blonde – and even went as far as…