Whether they're attempting to conform to Hollywood standards or simply just enjoy appearing a certain way, many beloved actresses promote a very particular image of beauty. Perfection is beautiful, according to Hollywood, as is emaciation, blonde hair, poreless skin, and plump lips. Fortunately, the lovely Lupita Nyong'o hit her stride as an actress just when women everywhere needed a more intelligent definition of beauty, and the actress has since become a muse for multidimensional beauty. Lupita Nyong'o covers Lucky this month, and is just as impossibly compelling as ever.
Because Nyong'o is so innately talented on-screen and so graceful in real life, it seems fitting to take her lead on matters of beauty as well, and the actress has a plethora of lessons to teach. As Lucky's March 2015 cover girl, Nyong'o is a glamorous demonstration of the true meaning of modern beauty, one made all the more compelling from its complexity and novelty. Here are seven lessons Lupita Nyong'o taught the world about true beauty, because everyone could use a refresher now and then.
1. Beauty Is Only Skin Deep, But A Glowing Complexion Certainly Helps
Nyongo's beauty extends to far greater depths than her epidermis, but she certainly knows how to light up a room with her radiant glow. Despite the matte skin trend and the urge to cake on heavy layers of makeup, Nyong'o knows the power of a healthy glow. In addition to keeping her foundation featherlight, the actress also favors a halo of highlighter across her cheekbones and along her temples to give the impression of incandescence. Of course, Nyong'o's naturally rosy complexion is the key ingredient in her signature luminosity.
2. Confidence And Poise Are Everything
Have you ever seen Lupita Nyong'o slouching her way down the red carpet? The answer is a resounding "No". Nyong'o's poise on the worldwide stage is one of the actress's most alluring attributes. She exudes confidence with her posture and bearing, and what could be more beautiful than a self-possessed woman?
3. Strength Is Striking
Nyong'o's athletic frame doesn't take after the gaunt models on the couture runway, and the star is all the more beguiling for her toned, muscular physique. Quite frankly, Nyong'o's enviably strong figure makes Miu Miu and Prada look all the more winsome.
4. Bright Colors Are A Girl's Best Friend
Neutrals have their established place in beauty, but Nyong'o's willingness to play with vibrant hues on her lips, cheeks, and eyes is a revelation. A brilliant violet lip perfectly enhances Nyong'o's skin tone, a wash of cobalt shadow across her lids at the 2014 SAG Awards was a refreshing pop of color, and a dab of crimson blush on the cheeks draws attention to the actress's beautiful cheekbones. Ditching bland nude and beige tones may be the greatest idea since Steve McQueen's brilliant casting of Nyong'o in 12 Years A Slave.
5. Originality Trumps Conformity Any Day Of The Week
Lupita Nyong'o consistently leaves fashion and beauty critics in awe of her red carpet looks, in no small part due to the fact that her choices are consistently outside the box. Whether stepping out in a '20s-esque headband of rocking a slicked-back crop, Nyong'o proves that distinctiveness is beautiful.
6. Leave The Scowl At Home; A Smile Is Infinitely More Winsome
The expression "you're never fully dressed without a smile" may well be the actress's mantra. Instead of glowering angrily at the camera, Nyong'o takes every opportunity to beam beautifully. Celebrities who favor resting bitch face and pouts should take note, because I have yet to see a snap of Nyong'o that looks less than dazzling — and it all traces back to her smile.
7. Be Proud Of Your Skin, No Matter The Tone, Color, Or Condition
Nyong'o explained to Glamour Magazine in 2014 that she had been made to feel ashamed of her skin color when she was a child. At 31, the actress is proud of her skin and hopes to propagate her pride to other women who have grappled with criticism. The actress's story is a lesson in overcoming offense and claiming your individual beauty. With Nyong'o's help, perhaps the next generation of women won't even understand the concept of skin-shaming.
Images: Getty Images