Lupita Nyong’o has had a whirlwind year. She went from being an unknown Yale acting school grad to an Academy Award-winning actress, People‘s most beautiful woman, a Lancôme spokesmodel and one of the fashion industry’s favorite clothes hangers. And fortunately for Lupita (and the rest of us), we’re going to be seeing a lot more of her in the future. She’s been cast in Star Wars: Episode VII, The Jungle Book and Americanah, based off the book by Nigerian feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
And why would anyone want Lupita to go away? The actress is the picture of grace, class, female empowerment and personal self-esteem. Each and every time she opens her mouth to speak, she drops pearls of wisdom beyond her 31 years. And it seems to be influencing us all.
Glamour asked her about the “Lupita Effect,” aka how she’s getting consumers to buy everything she wears and some fashion houses (though very few) to put more models of color on the runways. “I just heard it for the first time,” she said. “I’ve heard people talk about images in popular culture changing, and that makes me feel great, because it means that the little girl I was, once upon a time, has an image to instill in her that she is beautiful, that she is worthy—that she can… Until I saw people who looked like me, doing the things I wanted to, I wasn’t so sure it was a possibility. Seeing Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah in The Color Purple, it dawned on me: ‘Oh—I could be an actress!’ We plant the seed of possibility.”
And in Lupita’s world, it seems anything is possible.