Updated 08:35 PM EST, Fri, Mar 05, 2021

Lupita Nyong'o on Her Skin: I Prayed That 'I Would Wake Up Lighter-Skinned'

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When Lupita Nyong'o steps onto a red carpet, she chooses the boldest colors that just pop against her skin.

It's one of the things that makes her such a special person to watch on the red carpet, but it's also something that brought her disappointment in the past. During the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon, the Oscar-nominated star talked about the struggles she faced because of her dark skin tone.

"I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful," she said. "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 continued, "The morning would come and I would be so excited about seeing my new skin that I would refuse to look down at myself until I was in front of a mirror because I wanted to see my fair face first. And every day I experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as I was the day before. I tried to negotiate with God...But I guess God was unimpressed with my bargaining chips because He never listened."

According to Ebony, Nyong'o would vow to stop eating sugar cubes or promise that she would never lose her school sweater again.

And it really wasn't until she saw Alex Wek that she was able to see that her skin tone was beautiful, too.

"She was dark as night and was in all the magazines and on runways," she said. "My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome. I couldn't believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me as beautiful. It was perplexing and I wanted to reject it because I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy. But a flower couldn't help but bloom inside of me."

Nyong'o shared her touching story because she wants to be that role model for other girls. In a world where black actresses do not get the same roles as white performers, and only 6 percent are represented on the runway (at least last February), celebrities like Nyong'o are extremely important.

Surely, she's inspiring some little girl right now.

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