Lupita Nyong’o is an Oscar winner, a style icon, Hollywood’s “it” girl; and she has been just as insecure in her own skin as many of us are.

Recently at the Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon organized by Essence, Nyong’o took the opportunity to address her own evolving thoughts about beauty and race:

“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 when I was a teenager my self-hate grew worse, as you can imagine happens with adolescence. My mother reminded me often that she thought that I was beautiful but that was no conservation, she’s my mother, of course she’s supposed to think I am beautiful. And then…Alek Wek. A celebrated model, she was dark as night, she was on all of the runways and in every magazine and everyone was talking about how beautiful she was. Even Oprah called her beautiful and that made it a fact. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me, as beautiful. My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden Oprah was telling me it wasn’t.”

Read the full speech at Essence here. Thank you Lupita for reminding us all that we are beautiful.  Thank you for giving all of our future icons someone to look up to.

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