Lupita Nyong’o Felt ‘Unbeautiful’ Growing Up, And Is Now The New Face Of Lancome

Lupita Nyong’o is about to change the previously perceived image of French cosmetics giant Lancome.

The 31-year old Oscar winner has been contracted to become a ” Lancome Celebrity Ambassador” — essentially, the new face of Lancome.

Lupita is continuing a tradition of high profile stars adding their face and/or figure to endorse a range of products – some more appropriate than others.

In this case, Lupita is following in the footsteps of such Hollywood superstars as Julia Roberts, Penelope Cruz, and Kate Winslet. This is not a bad reward for winning the best actress award for her first major movie.

The “12 Years a Slave” star, commented to WWD on why she had decided to go with Lancome:

“What appealed to me about Lancome is that they’re not dictating what beauty is. What they do supports something that already is — and that was appealing to me, too. It’s what drew me to them. Hopefully it’s a symbiotic relationship — that I benefit from being associated with them, and they benefit from being associated with me, as well.

And for the consumer at large, I think Lancome has a range of products for every woman, and I think having me will expand people’s understanding of, hopefully, what Lancome stands for, who Lancome is for.”

Lupita said in a speech at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon in February, that when she was growing up she was concerned about the color of her skin because she 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”

Lupita Nyong’o acknowledged that it was the success and popularity of the South Sudanese model and designer, Alek Wek, that encouraged her to continue.

“When she came on the scene, I felt more seen,” Nyong’o also tells WWD. “Having me on a huge campaign like this will hopefully do that for other girls or people who feel unseen or underseen.”

Alek Wek’s story is also unusual. At the age of 14 she fled from the civil war in South Sudan to the U.K. Originally, she studied fashion design, but her distinctive looks were spotted by a talent scout, and she started modeling, and appearing in small roles in films and advertising and music videos.

Now, aged 36, she lives in New York, and last year appeared on the front cover of Forbes Africa.

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Lupita Nyong’o will be seen in Lancome ads starting in September 2014.