Lupita Nyong’o's ‘People’s Most Beautiful Title Doesn't Mean a Downfall Is on the Way
Lupita Nyong'o has done everything right since she appeared on the Hollywood scene: She was so amazing in 12 Years A Slave that she won an Oscar for her first major role, she looks great on every red carpet she walks, and she is fantastic in interviews. She even has a secret (well, not-so-secret anymore) boyfriend that she was with during all of those Jared Leto rumors — that she handled perfectly, I might add. And now, when you thought maybe Nyong'o had done everything she could except sign on to, like, ten new movies, Lupita Nyong'o has been named People 's Most Beautiful Person. But is this a good thing?
Okay, obviously it's a good thing. She's gorgeous and awesome and smart and talented. She really is a perfect choice for the cover, including from a business standpoint. Nyong'o is going to sell issues in a way that, say, giving Julia Roberts her fifth Most Beautiful title wouldn't. What I mean is, is this a good thing for her career? And do the past winners show a pattern that could help answer this question?
The winners of the past five years are: Gwyneth Paltrow (2013), Beyoncé (2012), Jennifer Lopez (2011), Julia Roberts (2010), and Christina Applegate (2009.) All of these women went on to have success in their careers in the time following their People covers. I know, you might not know what Applegate is up to now, but in 2009, Samantha Who? ended and Applegate was yet to be cast in Up All Night. (Yeah, that got canceled, but she got roles following the cover is all I'm saying.)
Another thing about these women, and most of the other past winners on the list, is that they all already had very long careers when they were named Most Beautiful; although Roberts was also named at the beginning of her career in 1991. People tends to choose someone that readers are comfortable with and whose career they know well. People like Nyong'o, but she's only starred in one movie, so not everyone is going to have even seen her in action.
Nyong'o is definitely a hot commodity right now and magazines are taking advantage of that — as they should. It's just a little scary to watch Nyong'o constantly get everything right because with every award, the anticipation of a bad decision seems to loom closer. She can't go on getting everything right forever, can she?
Maybe she can. Hopefully she can. It's just that it's hard to not think, "Oh man. She has to end up in some crappy romantic comedy soon, right?" or "Some crazy scandal is totally going to come out about how she's an asshole to waiters" or "She is going to show up somewhere wearing denim booty shorts and a fringed bra top. I just know it!"
When I found out Nyong'o was on an MTV show in Africa, I thought, "Ha! An MTV Show? This is sure to be the bad acting choice she had to go through to get to her current status! It will prove her imperfection!" But then it was really well done and was successful at raising AIDS awareness. She can't fail.
It feels like too much too soon for Nyong'o, but maybe it's just because she really deserves this much this soon. She may have landed People's Most Beautiful without the long career of the past honorees, but she'll probably do things her own way and have the lengthy, successful career afterward. Hey, she got her Oscar out of the way pretty quickly too.