Lupita Nyong’o told BBC Newsnight that she was a “victim of colorism” when she was a child and that she “wanted to have a different skin”.
The Oscar-winning actress, who has starred in films such as Black Panther and 12 Years a Slave, grew up in Kenya before settling in the United States.
She recently gave an interview to BBC Newsnight before the release of her children’s book, Sulwe, which tells the story of a girl with darker skin than her family.
Lupita told Emily Maitlis of Newsnight, “I grew up uncomfortable because of the color of my skin and because I felt as if the world around me was only thinking of lighter skin.”
She said that her younger sister, with lighter skin, was treated as “beautiful” and “pretty”.
She added that colorism was “very much related to racism” despite the fact that she had experimented with it in a predominantly black society like Kenya.
“We are still subject to these notions of Eurocentric beauty standards, which then affect the way we see each other,” she said.
The actress said she was warned during a hearing that she was “too dark” for television.
However, Nyong’o said that the relationship with his skin was distinct from the relationship with his race, according to BBC.
“Race is a very social construct, which I did not have to attribute to growing up daily,” she said. “Even though I lived in Kenya, I did not know that I belonged to a race called Black.”
She argues that this had changed when she moved to the United States, “because suddenly the term black was given to me and it meant some things I was not used to.”
Although she lived it in a predominantly black society like Kenya. Assuming nonetheless her dark complexion, she managed to impose it as a registered trademark to the point of being designated in 2014 by People magazine , “Most beautiful woman in the world.”