Three days before she won the Academy Award for her stunning performance in 12 Years a Slave, Lupita Nyong’o left the audience at ESSENCE’s Black Women in Hollywood luncheon teary-eyed and speechless as she shared her journey to self-acceptance as a dark-skinned woman. “When I was a teenager my self-hate grew worse, as you can imagine happens with adolescence,” Nyong’o recalled. “My mother reminded me often that she thought that I was beautiful but that was no consolation: She’s my mother, of course she’s supposed to think I am beautiful. And then Alek Wek came on the international scene.”
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