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Lupita Nyong'o Most Beautiful Person, According to People

Image: Lupita Nyong'o Most Beautiful Person, According to People

By Nick Sanchez   |   Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 11:12 AM

Lupita Nyong'o, the Oscar-winner and breakout star of "12 Years a Slave," has been crowned this year's most beautiful person by People magazine.

Editors from the magazine revealed the new cover featuring the starlet on NBC's "Today" show on Wednesday, as the show featured a new interview with Nyong'o about the honor.

"It was exciting and just a major, major compliment," she said. "I was happy for all the girls who would see me on [it] and feel a little more seen."

The 31-year-old honored with the Best Supporting Actress award at this year's Academy Awards has been vocal about her insecurities as a young girl regarding her dark complexion. The honor has given her another chance to advocate pride in one's appearance regardless of skin tone.

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At February's Black Women in Hollywood luncheon, she spoke to the crowd about a time when she was "teased and taunted for her night-shaded skin" and how she once viewed it as "an obstacle to overcome." Her mother Dorothy, managing director and head of PR for the Africa Cancer Foundation, was crucial in helping her overcome those feelings she had as a teenager, she said during the speech that would later make a splash on social media.

"You can’t rely on how you look to sustain you," she remembers her mother telling her. "What does sustain us ... what is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul."

"What an incredible journey to go from that feeling to being on the cover of this magazine," Nyong'o told "Today's" Savannah Guthrie. "I mean, you could have never told me that that would happen when I was 16 and insecure about my complexion."

Nyong'o, who was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya, is on a roll this year. After her big Oscar win and much talked about red carpet appearances, French makeup and skincare giant LancĂ´me announced that the actress would become the company's first-ever black ambassador.

"I am particularly proud to represent its unique vision for women and the idea that beauty should not be dictated, but should instead be an expression of a woman's freedom to be herself," she said at the time.

People magazine has been printing its annual "most beautiful" issue for 25 years, and has showcased both men and women on the cover.

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