What a year it’s been for Lupita Nyong’o!
The actress won an Oscar and a SAG Award for her performance in “12 Years a Slave,” became the newest face of Lancome cosmetics, and now, she’s been named People magazine’s World’s Most Beautiful woman of 2014.
“It was exciting and just a major, major compliment,” Lupita said of earning the top spot on the mag’s list and gracing the cover. “I was happy for all the girls who would see me on [it] and feel a little more seen.”
The 31-year-old beauty, who was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya, said she didn’t always feel pretty, as she looked different from what she saw on television.
“Light skin and long, flowing, straight hair,” she said. “Subconsciously you start to appreciate those things more than what you possess.”
But she eventually learned to appreciate her own looks, thanks in part to her mother, Dorothy.
“[My mom] always said I was beautiful,” she told the mag. “And I finally believed her at some point.”
Now, the actress says the “best compliments” are “when I have been called beautiful with not one drop of makeup on,” and “before I comb my hair or put on a pretty dress.”
“Happiness is the most important thing,” she added.
Lupita takes the Most Beautiful honor from Gwyneth Paltrow, who held the title in 2013. Beyonce was the winner in 2012, with Jennifer Lopez behind her in 2011.
-- Erin O’Sullivan
Copyright 2015 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.