Lupita Nyong’o left the audience at ESSENCE’s Black Women in Hollywood luncheon teary-eyed and speechless as she shared her journey to self-acceptance as a dark-skinned woman. The Kenyan Oscar-winning actress gave a speech that touched the hearts of so many all over the world (Read Speech Here).

March 20145Citing top International model Alek Wek as a driving force for her skin colour, Lupita stated that “And then…Alek Wek. A celebrated model, she was dark as night, she was on all of the runways and in every magazine and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was. Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me, as beautiful…when I saw Alek I inadvertently saw a reflection of myself that I could not deny.”

Alek-Wek-Responds-Lupita-Nyong'o-Beauty-Skin-Speech-Essence-Women-FAB-Magazine (2)ESSENCE reached Wek to ask how it felt to be part of Nyong’o’s own success story, responding she said:

I was amazed and very humbled by Lupita’s words, and I am so proud and happy that her talent was deservedly recognised with her Oscar award.

When I was growing up, my mother taught me and my sisters to celebrate each other — there was no room in our household for negativity. She taught us to embrace each other and this was empowering for us. She also taught us the value of celebrating our differences.

When I first started modeling I realised I was very different from many of my colleagues, but I welcomed the opportunities my career in fashion offered me, and the support from many inspiring individuals in the fashion industry. And because of this I have always strived to use the platform I have in fashion, to champion the ideals of what is beautiful.

For me it always goes back to what my mother taught me and my sisters. That all women are beautiful and we should embrace each other. True beauty is born through our actions and aspirations and in the kindness we offer to others. Beauty should not be culturally relevant, it should be universal.

Lovely words all around! Watch Lupita’s Speech below:

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One Response

  1. Fracas

    Aaaaaaaw! I am almost in tears myself and Asa’s song with the following lyrics come to mind, ‘Beautiful is your name and beautiful is what you are to me!’


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