Lupita Nyong’o in ‘Vogue’: "I cannot run away from who I am and my complexion"

Lupita Nyong’o in ‘Vogue’: "I cannot run away from who I am and my complexion"
Source: AP
Source: AP

Actress Lupita Nyong'o is widely regarded as a queen — and in her latest film, Queen of Katwe, she'll even get to play one. 

But in an interview with Vogue for the magazine's October cover, Nyong'o said she's still on a path to self-acceptance.

"I cannot run away from who I am and my complexion or the larger society and how they may view that," Nyong'o said. "I realize that with what I shared at the Essence awards."

In 2014, Nyong'o's acceptance speech for the Best Breakthrough Performance Award at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon spoke to why society makes it difficult to feel like the "goddess" her fans see her as.

Responding to a letter from a girl who told Nyong'o she had been considering skin-whitening products, Nyong'o said, "I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin. I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned."

Actress Lupita Nyong'o at the premiere of her new film 'Queen of Katwe'
Source: 
Jesse Herzog/AP

At the time, Nyong'o said she hoped her work on-screen could help black girls and women feel beautiful inside and out. Now, two years later, Nyong'o told Vogue she's going to continue doing what she can for people of color. 

Nyong'o said her art is a huge part of that mission. She pointed out that both the Broadway play Eclipsed, in which Nyong'o plays a woman fleeing her village during the Liberian civil war, and the film Queen of Katwe, a biopic about a Ugandan chess prodigy, "offer a new lens on African identity," according to Nyong'o.

"There are certain cards that have been dealt me that I take on," Lupita said. "I want to create opportunities for other people of color because I'm fortunate enough to have a platform to do that."

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Marie Solis

Marie is a Slay staff writer with focuses in culture and class. Her writing has appeared in Gothamist and the Awl. You can reach her at marie@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Bill Cosby to appear in court for alleged 1974 assault of 15-year-old girl

Cosby will appear in court on July 30, 2018 for allegedly forcing a teen girl to perform oral sex on him over 40 years ago.

Nearly 850 backlogged rape kits were found infested with mold in Texas

The mold-infested rape kits don't appear to have contaminated the DNA samples inside, according to authorities.

Season 11 of 'The X-Files' will be written entirely by men

Only six women have ever written for the beloved sci-fi show, which boasts over 200 episodes and spawned two feature-length films.

Does nursing require a "woman’s touch"? These male nurses say no.

Christian Martin and Dan Douglas are two men working as nurses — and it's mostly NBD.

The GOP health care bill's one-year ban on Planned Parenthood is a bigger problem than you think

Compared to the millions who will lose coverage, restricting federal funds for just 365 days doesn't seem that bad. But it is.

There's a new effort to recall Judge Aaron Perksy, who sentenced Brock Turner

If voters in Persky's county collect enough signatures, the judge could be on the chopping block in 2018.

Bill Cosby to appear in court for alleged 1974 assault of 15-year-old girl

Cosby will appear in court on July 30, 2018 for allegedly forcing a teen girl to perform oral sex on him over 40 years ago.

Nearly 850 backlogged rape kits were found infested with mold in Texas

The mold-infested rape kits don't appear to have contaminated the DNA samples inside, according to authorities.

Season 11 of 'The X-Files' will be written entirely by men

Only six women have ever written for the beloved sci-fi show, which boasts over 200 episodes and spawned two feature-length films.

Does nursing require a "woman’s touch"? These male nurses say no.

Christian Martin and Dan Douglas are two men working as nurses — and it's mostly NBD.

The GOP health care bill's one-year ban on Planned Parenthood is a bigger problem than you think

Compared to the millions who will lose coverage, restricting federal funds for just 365 days doesn't seem that bad. But it is.

There's a new effort to recall Judge Aaron Perksy, who sentenced Brock Turner

If voters in Persky's county collect enough signatures, the judge could be on the chopping block in 2018.