Who Will Be Declared 'People's Most Beautiful Person? Better Yet, Who Should Be?
Lupita Nyong'o and Jennifer Lawrence unwillingly became pitted against each other thanks to the Best Supporting Actress race at this year's Oscars and the man-made It Girl competition. While newcomer Lupita Nyong'o emerged victorious at the Academy Awards for her stunning performance in 12 Years a Slave, both women came out on top for having a good head on their shoulders and healthy sense of humor about the absurd, non-existent rivalry. But even with the Oscar race over and both Lawrence and Nyong'o firmly in place as beloved Hollywood stars, don't be surprised if these two will have to face off for another title: People 's 100 Most Beautiful People in the World cover girl. Wednesday, the magazine will announce their famous list, and don't be surprised if either Lawrence, 23, or Nyong'o, 31, wind up being declared the Most Beautiful Person. (You should be even less surprised when the one who doesn't nab the cover causes a flurry of "Why Her Instead of Her?").
Now, make no mistake: Jennifer Lawrence is a beautiful person, inside and out. Here's a young woman who is a timeless Hollywood beauty, who also happens to be whip-smart, funny, caring, authentic, talented, silly, and the best friend we all wish we had. But — and, again, sorry for doing this to you ladies — it's truly all about Lupita Nyong'o this year, for so many reasons.
Not only is the Kenyan-Mexican breakout actress absolutely breathtaking and a newfound fashion icon, but she's breaking down barriers and changing the idea of traditional beauty in the process. During her acceptance speech at the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood luncheon earlier this year, Nyong'o moved those in attendance and pretty much the entire Internet with her sincere words about beauty standards, particularly for a woman of color. "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 my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned," she powerfully stated, adding, "I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside. There is no shade to that beauty."
You can, and should, watch the entire video here:
The 2014 issue of Most Beautiful People will be the magazine's 25th edition. (The magazine hasn't put a man on the cover since Leonardo DiCaprio graced it in 1998, but since they have a Sexiest Man Alive issue all to themselves, it would be shocking if a woman didn't make the cover. Though they might try and right that Ryan Gosling wrong.) If Nyong'o were to be the cover girl, she would only be the third black woman to do so. (Beyoncé Knowles was on the cover of the 2012 issue and Halle Berry was back in 2003.)
While it would be a step in the right direction to make a seemingly frivolous title have some significance to it, there would still be a long way for them to go. People has put famous, undeniably beautiful women like Kate Hudson, Jennifer Aniston, and Julia Roberts (who has been on the cover a record four times) on this issue, but it would be truly groundbreaking if women of more varying body types like Melissa McCarthy would to get on the cover. It would also be a refreshing, honest change of pace to put an older woman like Meryl Streep front and center, too.
In a perfect world, women who are helping evolve what beauty is — women like Rashida Jones, Christina Hendricks, and Mindy Kaling, among so many others we admire for so many reasons — would all land on the cover, not just inside the issue itself. But having Lupita Nyong'o, a completely worthy and deserving choice, as the representative for our refreshing, healthy new ideal of beauty would be a great start.