Lupita Nyong’o has been crowed People magazine’s Most Beautiful.
The publication releases the list annually, with the 12 Years a Slave Oscar winner topping it for 2014. The 31-year-old is astounded to have made the grade, insisting she “never dreamed” something like that could happen.
“It was exciting and just a major, major compliment,” she said of being the cover girl. “I was happy for all the girls who would see me on [it] and feel a little more seen.”
This is the latest in a series of glittering achievements for the actress. As well as taking home a number of top prizes of her role in 12 Years a Slave she has also been named the new face of Lancôme Paris.
Lupita was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya. She credits her mother for instilling her with self-confidence, as she regularly told the star how beautiful she was. Initially, Lupita couldn’t believe her as she looked so different to the major stars she saw on the big and small screen.
“Light skin and long, flowing, straight hair,” she recalled. “Subconsciously you start to appreciate those things more than what you possess.”
The star went through a typical period of experimentation with her looks when she was younger, including dyeing her hair and shaving it at one point. These days she has a clear idea of when she feels her best.
“[The best compliments are] when I have been called beautiful with not one drop of make-up on,” she said. “And also before I comb my hair or put on a pretty dress. Happiness is the most important thing.”
Lupita steals the crown from Gwyneth Paltrow, who bagged the top spot last year. Previous winners have included Jennifer Lopez, Julia Roberts and Beyoncé Knowles.
Also included in 2014′s rundown is Keri Russell, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Mindy Kaling, Pink, Amber Heard, Molly Sims, Stacy Keibler and Kerry Washington.
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