Lupita Nyong’o was made to believe that having dark skin was “unacceptable”.
The Academy Award winning actress has revealed that she was taught to aspire to have lighter skin because it would help her find love.
Talking about unfair beauty standards to the November issue of US Glamour magazine, Lupita said: “European standards of beauty are something that plague the entire world – the idea that darker skin is not beautiful, that light skin is the key to success and love. Africa is no exception. When I was in the second grade, one of my teachers said, ‘Where are you going to find a husband? How are you going to find someone darker than you?’
“I was mortified. I remember seeing a commercial where a woman goes for an interview and doesn’t get the job. Then she puts a cream on her face to lighten her skin, and she gets the job! This is the message: that dark skin is unacceptable.
“I definitely wasn’t hearing this from my immediate family-my mother never said anything to that effect-but the voices from the television are usually much louder than the voices of your parents.”
The 31-year-old star also shared that her role models are the South Sudanese British model Alek Wek, and the talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
Now a style icon in her own right, Lupita admitted that it’s nice to have a positive effect on the fashion industry.
The ’12 Years A Slave’ star 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 instil in her that she is beautiful, that she is worthy-that she can.”