“What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty inflames the heart and enchants the soul.”

Lupita Nyong’o is an actress, best known for her roles in 12 Years A Slave, Black Panther, and Us, and the author of Sulwe, a New York Times Best Seller children’s book which explores colorism and inner beauty. She is also an international advocate for women’s rights and animal’s rights. Nyong’o is the Global Elephant Ambassador for the international conservation organization WildAid as well as an ambassador for Michael Kors’ “Watch Hunger Stop” campaign. She works with Mother Health International as well, which helps women and children in Uganda. In her career, Nyong’o continually champions inner beauty, diversity, and equality.

Nationality: Kenyan-Mexican

Industry: Film

Q: You’ve become so popular that people talk about “the Lupita effect,” which includes everything from consumers running out to buy the lip gloss you’re using to designers casting more women of color on the runway. How do you react to that?Glamour

A: “I giggle. I just heard it for the first time. I’ve heard people talk about images in popular culture changing, and that makes me feel great, because it means that the little girl I was, once upon a time, has an image to instill in her that she is beautiful, that she is worthy—that she can… Until I saw people who looked like me, doing the things I wanted to, I wasn’t so sure it was a possibility. Seeing Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah in The Color Purple, it dawned on me: “Oh—I could be an actress!” We plant the seed of possibility.”