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'12 Years a Slave' Star

I Used to Pray For Lighter Skin

3/1/2014 7:55 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

"12 Years a Slave" star Lupita Nyong'o says she repeatedly prayed to God asking for lighter skin during her adolescence ... because she thought having dark black skin was a curse.

Nyong'o was honored with an award on Thursday at a luncheon for Essence ... and said she was teased growing up for her "night-shaded skin" ... so she prayed God would change it.

Lupita says she was so ashamed she couldn't even look at herself in the mirror ... adding, "Every day I experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as I had been the day before."

The actress says supermodel Alek Wek -- one of the first dark skinned supermodels -- helped boost her confidence ... because people like Oprah praised her as a beautiful woman.

Nyong'o says she ultimately learned that beauty comes in all shades ... and hopes to be an inspiration to other young girls with similar concerns.



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TMZers, pray that I never stop posting please

235 days ago


She is a beautiful, talented woman. But why is this news? I used to pray for a smaller pecker. So what?

235 days ago

ғυтυяεм ♀    

Where are all the people who usually post the racist comments? Lunch break?

235 days ago


Whatever coon!

235 days ago


Who cares

235 days ago

Cotton Club Parade    

Ummm soo....That is NOT Alek Wek in the picture below. Not all black African people look alike.

235 days ago


If you are teased in Kenya for being too black, you have issues. Nyong'o moved back to Kenya with her parents when she was less than one year old,[7] when her father was appointed a professor at the University of Nairobi.[8] She grew up primarily in Kenya, and describes her upbringing as "middle class, suburban".[9]

235 days ago

Truth is    

Black is beautiful..there's a reason God made black ppl as with all other race. There's beauty in every race and ugly in every race

235 days ago


TMZ, that model is NOT Alek Wek, but another Sudanese model.

Lupita comes across as confident. I think she has grown into her skin. I know it must be tough.

This is why we need more women with this complexion of TV.

Enough with telling us how Mariah Carey and Paula Patton represent us. They do NOT.

We need more Naomi Campbell, Alek Wek, Olouchi and Lupita types.

235 days ago


I prefer light skinned chicks like Vanessa Williams or mulattoes.

235 days ago

She's baaaack    

Good luck to you, lovely black woman, but Cate Blanchett was freaking amazing and I'm rooting for her. I wish all of you could win. Really. I get it though, there are the lighter black people, like Beyonce keeps getting lighter and lighter and like MJ, and the real black people like yourself. You are beautiful. You are a dark, lovely flower. Screw the rest of them.

235 days ago

Yes, I'm That Leah    

I'm SO glad she learned to love herself. She's a beauty. As an African American, I have seen so many beautiful dark skinned women in the community struggle with their complexion. My own dark skinned sister grew up hating herself. I hate to hear stories like this.

235 days ago

The world is disgusting    

I'm half black and I get that that maybe she suffered some harassment when she was young, but lawd why do black people still act like we are in the 1920's???!!! STOP IT! The only hate we receive, we project on ourselves! Stop playing the "woe is me, I'm black" card. Or the, "I wished I was lighter when I was younger" card. STOP. MOVE ON.

235 days ago

Eye roll     

That's sad that she felt that way. I'm white and growing up all I wanted to do was be tan. She's a beautiful woman.

235 days ago


Good for her. She is gorgeous, and I get that it's important to be a role model for very dark-skinned black women and girls.

235 days ago
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