Lupita Nyong’o hasn’t always been the famous, confident women of Hollywood cinema. In fact, the award-winning actress has opened up about her struggle with self-esteem and accepting her looks as a young girl. Her past struggle to accept her body image is at the root of a new controversy, after one beauty magazine airbrushed the star’s cover photo.
Lupita Nyong’o is not Grateful for Grazia UK‘s Photo Edit
While Lupita Nyong’o may have been proud to grace the cover of Grazia UK, the New York Times reports that was before she actually saw the published magazine. For the cover, Lupita wore her wavy black hair tied back into a ponytail. In the initial image, the actress has her hair pulled tight, so it’s smooth against her scalp, while the bulk of her hair is seen flowing in a wavy cloud at the back of her head.
When Nyong’o checked out the final magazine cover, she found that something was missing. That something was her ponytail. Grazia UK‘s photo editor had airbrushed the hair right out of the picture. Instead, the editor filled in the space with more of the background seen in the rest of the photo.
Ms. Nyong’o took the editing as an affront to her heritage and her own personal appearance. In an Instagram post, the actress shared a collage of images that show the original photo and the edited copies.
“Disappointed that @GraziaUK edited out & smoothed my hair to fit a more Eurocentric notion of what beautiful hair looks like,” Lupita captioned the image.
Separately, Lupita also commented that it was Grazia UK‘s invitation that prompted her to pose for the cover. As such, she said they should have accepted her appearance as it is, without any photo editing. At the very least, Nyong’o feels the magazine staff should have consulted her about the changes.
As I have made clear so often in the past with every fiber of my being, I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty, I now know that my dark skin and kinky, coily hair are beautiful too. Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfills me as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are. I am disappointed that @graziauk invited me to be on their cover and then edited out and smoothed my hair to fit their notion of what beautiful hair looks like. Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women's complexion, hair style and texture. #dtmh
Grazia UK Apologizes to Lupita Nyong’o
CNN reports that Grazia UK has since offered an apology to the actress, expressing regret that Ms. Nyong’o took offense to the changes. Adding an explanation to their public statement, Grazia UK managers suggested that the airbrushing was a decision made solely by the photographer. The statement clarifies that they made no request for changes to Lupita Nyong’o’s physical features.
“…at no point did (it) make any editorial request to the photographer for Lupita Nyong’o’s hair to be altered on this week’s cover, nor did we alter it ourselves,” read the statement in part.
Grazia UK also expressed remorse over not keeping a closer rein on its photography department. They said they were at fault in as much as they should have checked the image, before approving it for publication.
Lupita Nyong’o won an Oscar for her role in the 2013 film, 12 Years a Slave. The actress will next appear in Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther feature film adaptation, due to hit theaters on February 16, 2018.
[Featured Image by Noam Galai/Getty Images]