On many occasions, Lupita Nyong’o has reminded us why she is not only beautiful and talented but ceaselessly wise. We look back at some of our favourite Lupita nuggets of wisdom, as we throw in some of her top beauty looks since her ever-rising star shot to fame in 2014.
1. “My hair is something that, historically, has been shunned. I mean, how often do you hear, ‘You can’t get a job with hair like that’? Natural, African, kinky hair – it’s often been painted as uncivilized or wild.” (Porter Magazine)
2. “I come from a very patriarchal world, but not within my family. My dad listened to my mom. My mom held her own. There was never a sense of her deflecting from my father. She had the power to say no to things, and I saw her hold that power.” (Porter Magazine)
3. “Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfils me, as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are.” (Instagram post)
4. “Beauty should not be dictated, but should instead be an expression of a woman’s freedom to be herself,” (commenting on becoming the first black woman on a major Lancôme beauty campaign)
5. “[My speech at Essence] was about having dark skin in a world that favours traditional Western standards of beauty – light complexions and silky hair – and my own journey from insecurity to a place of self-acceptance…I was touched by how it had resonated with so many people of color, and not just black Africans. I started to realize that there was a demographic that really needed to hear this message but wouldn’t hear my speech. I wanted to get to kids before they reach an age where the world is telling them they are not as valuable.” (In Porters Magazine on why she has written her book Sulwe – about a little girl and how she comes to accept her dark complexion. Its will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2019)
6. “I got so many offers for slave roles…I didn’t want to do any of them. I did not want to be pigeon-holed… There’s that thing: ‘You gotta catch your wind! This is your moment!’ It’s suddenly all about what people expect you to do…I had to reacquaint myself with the possibility of failure and be OK with it. And I had to free myself from needing to maintain an ‘A’ because it wasn’t in the pursuit of an ‘A’ that I got to that point. When I did 12 Years I was not expecting accolades, I was just trying to play Patsey to the best of my abilities. So I kept reminding myself of the thing that I needed to invest my time in – my craft.” (In Porter Magazine, commenting on the aftereffect of winning an Oscar for her 12 Years a Slave performance in 2014.
7. “The little Kenyan child in me leaped for joy because it’s such an affirmation… What colonialism does is cause an identity crisis about one’s own culture.” (On Black Panther in Vogue magazine interview)
8. Black Panther was such a breath of fresh air seeing men and women living in their power with out one dwarfing the other. To me it was reflective of the fact that sexism is learned. To see a society where that’s not the focal point, where gender is not the fabric with which society is built and the delineations of sex are not oppressive, that’s really cool. And it’s possible. (Entertainment Weekly)
9. “You can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t feed you…beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be. You can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What actually sustains us, what is fundamentally beautiful, is compassion–for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty inflames the heart and enchants the soul.” (Black Women in Hollywood Awards)
10. “Relaxing your hair was a rite of passage. My hair suffered a lot with those chemicals and I cut it all off and my hair grew and I realised it wasn’t that bad after all” (The BBC)