Beauty & Body Image, Celebrity Quotes, Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong’o Brings the Quote of the Day

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On beauty and dark skin:

“European standards of beauty are something that plague the entire world—the idea that darker skin is not beautiful, that light skin is the key to success and love. Africa is no exception. When I was in the second grade, one of my teachers said, ‘Where are you going to find a husband? How are you going to find someone darker than you?’ I was mortified. I remember seeing a commercial where a woman goes for an interview and doesn’t get the job. Then she puts a cream on her face to lighten her skin, and she gets the job! This is the message: that dark skin is unacceptable. I definitely wasn’t hearing this from my immediate family—my mother never said anything to that effect—but the voices from the television are usually much louder than the voices of your parents.”

… says Lupita.

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  • She’s right; in Asia, the obsession with being white is just ridiculous. There are loads of whitening creams on the market, and even pills and injections you can take. It’s a shame that people think they need to conform to European standards of beauty. I am glad Lupita has risen above that!

    • sia

      here in Australia a lot of girls are obsessed with being tanned. I’m from Scandinavian descent so I’m naturally very pale and use to find myself wishing i had darker skin. Bu it is easier to apply fake tan or go in the sun than it would be to lighten your skin. I really liked Lupita’s quote, I hope a lot of young girls get her message and learn to love and accept their skin.

      • Cami

        It’s interesting how people are obsessed with tanning in some countries. I’m of galician descent and I’m very pale, most european countries I’ve been to people looked at me funny like I was some kind of freak for not fake tanning, and in my own country it’s even worse since here the beach/golden look is the standard. When I go to the beach I see people looking at me and making comments on how pale I am like it’s some kind of crime to walk around without a tan.

        • Snugglepup

          I know right, I get so much sh*t for being pale in the summer, and I’m from Finland where fair is probably the most common complexion. It’s just my complexion, leave me alone haha. I don’t like tanning (and more importantly, I don’t tan even if I tried) and I’m naturally really pale, so that’s how I look year round. Many people probably think that all I do is sit inside all day avoiding every sun ray.

          • Cami

            I totally relate to that! The amount of times I heard the frase ” you should catch some sun, you’re gonna look healthier” or “you look sickly, maybe you don’t go outside enough” is just infuriating! I walk outside every day! I just don’t tan, I can’t. I like my colour, that’s just how I am.

          • Nikki

            Me too.. I’m Scandinavian living in the US and I used to get picked on as a kid for being pale when everyone else was tanning. I’ve felt uncomfortable in my pale skin for so long that I usually fake-tan. I hate it.

  • Stacey

    This. I’ve never read a celebrity quote so bang on. I grew up my skin colour for so long because I thought it was too dark. My parents never berated me but this is this the sort of messaging I’ve received from the media, school, and other family. My grandma used to always call me “pretty for a dark girl.” 🙁

    • ginalouis

      “pretty for a dark girl”???

      oh my god, that’s awful. i feel sorry for you thinking/being told your skin colour isn’t as beautiful as others.

  • Sasha

    European standards? Hahahaha… I think it’s Holywood, not Europe, where these come from. As a European 🙂 I find anyone different more interesting, because we are so uniform. The fact that in Africa or Asia white means beautiful – well that’s just odd, because we’re trying to get more tanned every summer 😀 All skin colors are beautiful!

    • I think she means European because most white USA/hollywood actors are of white european descent!

    • a

      of course it is European beauty ideals, maybe not the beauty ideals held by individual Europeans, but beauty ideals that align with the European look. European countries have dominated other countries in pretty much every part of the world politically, economically, and militarily, and the equation of white skin with power, money, and social status has given rise to the idea that white is better in places where it is not the norm. This comes from hundreds and hundreds of years of history, not the less-than-a-century that Hollywood has been prevalent.

      • Occipital

        EXACTLY

      • sam

        im from Canada, Not USA but Canada & we dont envy anything from europe (beauty, politics, economics or military)… sorry if that sounds rude… +++ I think she meant Europe because she meant Europe. I remember one episode of the keeping up with the Kardashian when Kim went to Vienne with Kris… She said she had never experimented racist like this before.

        • L

          lol just because you as an individual Canadian do not envy anything from Europe doesn’t mean that European beauty ideals aren’t the prevailing standards throughout the world (and they have been since p much forever)

    • martasara12

      i was about to say the same thing, in the european countries i know if you’re not ‘darker’ (as in, not pale) you’re ugly..but i get was she is trying to say

  • Daisy

    She seems very smart, it makes her even more beautiful.

  • lc

    I think she is very pretty. I love her toned arms.

  • lorraine pascale is darker but aside from that EBS details facial structure and a lightness in body mass, it’s very simplistic to only refer to it by skin tone alone. So she matches it in ways that say Gabourey Sidibe or Amber Riley does not

  • Agatha

    It’s the same in Mexico, probably worst. You only see white people in the media, and the majority of the population is mixed, so it’s not representative at all. People in Mexico feel identified with that “Caucasian” standard of beauty. There was this experiment were they asked Mexican children stuff about a white doll and a brown doll. The answers are really sad :/
    http://youtu.be/IO66zWdehMM

    I’m trying to grow in that area, it wasn’t until I traveled to other countries that I realized that I have “Mexican” features. I have mixed feelings about that. In Spain, for example, people pointed that out so much, and said stuff like “you’re so dark, you look so Mexican, is your grandmother indigenous?”, etc. Some of them did cross the line. I didn’t like it. I don’t think I’m that dark or indigenous looking. So I don’t know if they’re racist to point stuff like that out or I’m racist to get offended by it. Why does stuff like skin color matter? It wasn’t our choice. Argh. Sorry not sorry for the long comment, Lupita made me think about my personal experience. She’s a nice gal.

    • Willy Wonka

      this makes me so sad… how they’ve associated the darker doll with all these bad annotations, but then having to admit that that’s the one they actually do resemble more…one could feel the contradictory feelings these children suddenly were having. Very cringe worthy…

    • Wow, did not know Mexico had the same views about skin color as most Asian countries do :/

  • chris

    The funny thing is that its the black people or asian people who say dark skin isnt beautiful. I dont know any white person who gives a hoot, in fact its the opposite. WHite people go gaga over lupita.

    • L

      Individual white people you know who like Lupita versus the effects of systemic racism and the long held ideals of European beauty that has been / is actively ingrained in PoC via the media…uhhh you’re missing the point if you think your not knowing “any white person who gives a hoot” is representative of the actual world.

    • white people do love lupita but if you’ve never heard any sort of subtle racist comment from white people about dark skin tones then you must be living under a rock or just so accustomed to white privilege that you are oblivious to it.

      go to the south of the united states and tell me again that “white people don’t give a hoot about skin tone”

      • chris

        “white privelege”? Who comes up with this stuff? Honestly it is the other way around, people are so politically correct they give black people a free pass. What was that guys name, Michael, the criminal who got shot? People find racism in places where there isn’t any. Way too much political correctness.

        • a

          facepalm

  • Maelstrom

    She is so damn gorgeous.

  • Maria

    What a sweety pie 🙂 So pretty and she sounds sweet and down to earth

  • CK

    She looks beautiful here. As for the quote, i disagree about “white skin – European standard of beauty, tons of people in different cultures are not much familiar/very influenced with European culture, yet the “white skin” myth is very strong, if anything for the past years american culture has been so much stronger, influential&even invasive to many countries out there, and it also perpetuates the light skin thing, unfortunately, black women in media, imo, are still more of an exception than a usual thing. So the “light or white skin better” myth exists in many countries all over the world – in European countries, in Usa, in some Asian countries, and as Lupita here says in some African ones. I also feel like, today, it’s many European countries where people put less emphasis/attention on others’ skin color than in some other countries.

  • Tias

    Agreed, I’m a dual national and when I’m with my extended family in central europe they all think I’m totally nuts for wearing hats and spf50 so I don’t get a tan.
    1) I’m 1/4 irish and we of the emerald isle heritage dont so much tan as burst into flame 2) I like to be as pale as I can be, its a personal preference and alot of europeans seem to get genuinely offended by it. I remember one time I got a tan on my legs I hated so I bought this exfoliating papaya soap to fade it and my european side of family was acting like I was dipping my legs in bleach or something. :/

  • Snugglepup

    Usually what we desire goes in hand with what’s harder to achieve; times when the nobility class were the ones to have the leisure to stay inside all day while the peasantry worked on the fields the pale complexion was adored. In the western society it’s a luxury to either afford fake tan or have the time to just lay in the sun / have time to do hobbies outside. Also there’s obviously some symbolism tied around fairness as well as there’s already quite a history behind the idea of tan being healthy.

    The Japanese have a term bihaku that means beauty and whiteness of the skin. I don’t see this as a thing from the west, it’s a Chinese thing that has probably developed far before the Europeans had anything to do with them or if the Chinese actually even gave a f about what we silly westerns do.
    In America lighter skin may be sometimes favored due to the fact that the slaves with paler complexion usually got to do work around the house instead on the fields. In Africa people have their own beauty standards that may come from their tribal ancestors or have been affected by slavery. And of course there’s different kind of minorities all around the world as we all know whom have very different traditions and ideas concerning beauty. Then there’s everybody’s personal preference that may be whatever.

  • Lauren

    She’s beautiful & has great muscular arms.

  • It’s a historical superiority; back in the day, you could tell who was wealthy and who was poor and had to work hard based on their skin tone. So for example, the ones who were pale could afford to sit inside and not labor outside, whereas the ones with dark skin were dark because they had to labor outside in the hot sun.
    Now it’s more the case of “Oh, most Western people are pale. But I am dark. I want to be like the beautiful Westerner!” – even though most in the Western world would love to be tan!!
    It’s pretty ridiculous and i cannot believe this delusion that white is superior is better.