In news that confirms the employees at People magazine have eyes and also hearts, Lupita Nyong’o has been announced their “Most Beautiful” cover star for 2014. It’s not exactly surprising, since she’s been on everyone’s minds for the past few months. But just because it’s not surprising doesn’t mean it’s not wonderful. You know what else is not surprising but also wonderful? The fact that Lupita had lovely things to say in response to receiving the honor.
She says it was “exciting” and “a major, major compliment,” adding, “I was happy for all the girls who would see me on [it] and feel a little more seen.” It echoes a message she sent in a recent speech for ESSENCE magazine’s Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon that focused on the insecurities she felt about her skin color as a young woman and how she grew to feel proud of her beauty. She also has a great attitude about what it means to be beautiful, saying the best compliments to receive are “when I have been called beautiful with not one drop of makeup on.” She says “Happiness is the most important thing.”
Lupita’s name was the first on my mind when I heard the title for the 25th annual Most Beautiful issue would be announced this morning. And I think it’s a great choice. Not only is she obviously beautiful and relevant and popular and a new Oscar winner, but it’s also nice to know the magazine is aware non-white people exist after naming another white guy Sexiest Man Alive. And as editorial director Jess Cagle explained on Today this morning, Lupita shows a “grace and humility” which adds to her beauty. It’s great to see someone like that on the cover any magazine. I predict the reaction to this cover might be a little happier than the one to last year’s Gwyneth Paltrow one. Sorry, Gwynnie. You go, Lupita!