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Lupita Nyong’o on Beauty

This may be the most wonderful, significant thing I’ve heard about beauty this year.  I cannot add a word to it, just my tears this morning.

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“My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden, Oprah was telling me it wasn’t. It was perplexing and I wanted to reject it because I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy.”

“I felt more seen, more appreciated by the far away gatekeepers of beauty, but around me the preference for light skin prevailed. To the beholders that I thought mattered, I was still unbeautiful.”

“And my mother again would say to me, “You can’t eat beauty. It doesn’t feed you.” And these words plagued and bothered me; I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be.”

“And what my mother meant when she said you can’t eat beauty was that you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you.”

“And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.”

Thank God for Lupita, and her beauty, and her talent, and her bravery, and her compassion, and her strength, and her struggle, and her words.

  • Diana Durrill

    Stunning words. I love: “…[beautiful] is something that I just had to be.”