Lupita Nyong'o: 'It's 2015, man. We could all use some diversity' She Tells Harper's Bazaar UK April 2015
Lupita Nyong’o is adjusting well as an international spokesperson for beauty. Interviewed in the May issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK, the 32-year-old actress is confident, dazzling, and joyful. Speaking of changing beauty standards, Lupita says with her usual, earnest candor: ‘It’s 2015, man. We could all use some diversity. I don’t feel like the responsibility I feel comes from any place other than my gut.’
Nyong’o - who was raised in Kenya and attributes much of graceful elegance to the ceremonial nature of her culture - feels that her ‘unique position’ gives her a responsibility to speak out for what she describes as ‘her demographic’.
‘I wish that I took it more lightly sometimes because it costs a lot,” she says. “Which is why I can’t do those speeches every weekend, because it costs a lot to share from such a deep place, if you will. But I don’t know how to speak from any other place. Kenyans are very ceremonial. There is a formality that comes with gatherings and comes from our colonial conditioning… Oratory is something that’s really important to Kenyans, the way one speaks to the masses, it’s an art almost.’I feel a responsibility to speak about certain things because I wish someone had spoken about them for me,” she said.
I know I’m in a unique position where lots of people all over the world are seeing me and connecting with me, and perhaps because of my demographic and how limited representation is for my demographic, I do feel not a responsibility but an impetus to speak.
Personally, I am struggling with the comments of HuffPo beauty editor Dana Oliver’s comments about Lupita, who she personally praises.
Labeling Nyong’o as the “new face of beauty” is a harsh reminder that the fashion industry encourages a standard of beauty where black women such as Nyong’o are considered “exotic,” or worse, simply ignored. The reality is that Nyong’o is beautiful even if she wasn’t an ambassador for Lancôme or a red carpet darling. Black will always be beautiful.
Lupita Nyong’o has the grace, elegance and warmth of Audrey Hepburn. If that makes her ‘exotic’, so be it. She is articulate and hardly being buttoned up by Lancome’s PR team. I am lost in Oliver’s argument.
Lupita is lensed by Alexi Lubomirski, who has shot her on several occasions now.