It’s been a successful year indeed for Hollywood actress Lupita Nyong’o.
In March, she won an Oscar for her role in the critically acclaimed 12 Years A Slave, in which she played abused slave Patsey. Her harrowing performance also landed her BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations.
The fashion world welcomed her with open arms, and she currently stars as the face of both Miu Miu and Lancome. Designers clamoured to dress the 30-year-old during awards season earlier this year.
But her achievements keep growing - People magazine has named her the most beautiful person in the world in its annual list, beating stars including Amber Heard, Molly Sims and Jennifer Lawrence. Previous winners of the award include Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwyneth Paltrow and Beyonce.
The move is welcome news in a media that is often accused of downplaying the beauty of darker-skinned women.
Although she grew up believing that “light skin and flowing, straight hair” was more desirable, Nyong’o mother “always said I was beautiful. And I finally believed her at some point.”
“It was exciting and just a major, major compliment,” Nyong’o told People of her latest award. “I was happy for all the girls who would see me on [the cover] and feel a little more seen.”
When she was younger Nyong’o struggled with her appearance, but was inspired by the rising stardom of black model Alek Wek.
“I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me as beautiful,” she said during a speech in February. “A flower couldn’t help but bloom inside of me.”