When I first read this title given to Lupita Nyong’o by the new issue of Harper’s Bazaar, I admit that I side-eyed it for a while? After a while, though, I realized that I was just reading into it the wrong way. I was taking “the new face of beauty” to mean that Lupita wasn’t beautiful in the conventional sense of the word. To some extent, that is true, just not in a bad way. For so long, it’s almost as if we’ve been programmed to accept that beautiful women were those with long blond hair and piercing blue eyes. However, this is not the only archetype of beauty and, quite frankly, not everyone’s highest standard of beauty, either. Blond hair and blue eyes are beautiful, indeed. It doesn’t mean that only those who have it should be considered beautiful and I think that that’s what this title is trying to dispel.
Lupita Nyong’o is gorgeous. Truly, it is breathtaking how gorgeous she is. More than that, though, she has proven time and again that she is graceful, intelligent and gracious – three qualities that, if you ask me, are far more valuable than any outward beauty. I think, also, that the media has done a good job of portraying all those qualities – though, understandably, they have focused more on her physical beauty.
Last year, I read an article in which the writer claimed that the media’s attention towards Lupita was more fetishism than it was actual admiration and, to that writer, I say, “Have a seat.” I do admit that the frenzy surrounding Lupita Nyong’o last year did almost border on obsession, but I don’t think it was because they were fetishizing her. I think it had more to do with the fact that they were just so enthralled at the idea that Hollywood and the general population for the most part were so aggressively embracing someone who didn’t fit the established mold of Hollywood beauty, and they ran wild with it. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, though. It gave Lupita a well-deserved ego boost, as well as showing the countless number of people out there – especially dark-skinned black individuals – that their beauty is just as valid as the blue-eyed blonds, And, really… fetishism?! As long as the attention shown to someone is positive and respectful, does it matter if it’s different?
The Harper’s Bazaar article is a good read, and Lupita, of course, comes off as endearing as always as she discusses her shocking catapult into stardom. It’s particularly great because she neither comes off as an entitled diva who thinks that they’ve worked so hard that they deserve the attention, nor does she present herself as a hipster poser who is so over the media attention and just wants to work on her “craft”. She sounds just like any normal person would – excited and a little terrified, just trying not to be overwhelmed by it all… and I love her more for it!
A few more pictures are here