She's most beautiful?

Have you seen 12 Years A Slave?

It's a horrifying ordeal.

Or, depending on how you look at it, a huge turn-on!

Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o, who plays one of the woefully mistreated black slaves in the film, which won the Best Picture Oscar a couple of months ago, has just landed at the top of People magazine's annual 50 Most Beautiful list.

Funny, but the last thing I was thinking about while watching her being whipped to within an inch of her life was, "Wow, check out that bone structure!"

It never really struck me that Nyong'o was beautiful at all because within the context of 12 Years A Slave, that would be a rather bizarre thought.

It was only when the 31-year-old was nominated for a ton of awards and started popping up on red carpets that people - and presumably People - really started taking an interest.

When she eventually won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, the buzz became deafening.

People magazine's editorial director Jess Cagle said on the US morning show Today: "She is fantastic... She's kind of all the rage. There was really no contest this year. She seemed like the only choice.

"She's obviously talented, obviously beautiful, she is incredibly stylish, but the way she carries herself with such grace and such humility, I think it's what put her over the top."

Fine, dude. Great.


Even so, I think she's a weird choice.

It all seems a bit The Hunger Games to me. She's this girl famous for being tormented, and then you pretty her up and take her to The Capitol and fawn all over her.

Some are saying that she was chosen because People magazine wants to look politically correct, and indeed, I think there might be something to that.

It's almost kind of patronising - Hey, look guys! Black women can be beautiful too!

12 Years A Slave is Nyong'o's only big-time movie and she played only a supporting role, yet now suddenly she's the most beautiful woman in the world?!

She also had a tiny role in the Liam Neeson action flick Non-Stop this year and I can tell you that she barely registered.

If this woman truly was the Most Beautiful, I can assure you that I would have taken notice. I'm reliable in that respect.

Nyong'o has every right to feel great about her victory and it's inspiring for all different sorts of people.

"It was exciting and just a major, major compliment," Nyong'o told Today. "And especially, I was happy for all the girls who would see me and feel a little more seen."

It's a nice sentiment, but the sad fact is that beauty isn't nice - rather the opposite.

We can all feel great about who we are, but there's just a teeny-tiny minority of us who are truly beautiful.

It's one of the most obvious indicators of how amazingly unfair life can be. But look at the rest of People's crazy list.

Bland Keri Russell at #2? Chubby Mindy Kaling at #4? Mannish Pink at #5? Really???

It's like a pee-wee football league, where everyone gets a trophy.


Nyong'o is very attractive, but she's not jaw-droppingly stunning.

Even just confining her competition to black women, there are many who are much hotter: Take your pick of Zoe Kravitz (Divergent), Meagan Good (Anchorman 2) or model Adaora Akubilo.

Nyong'o looks like someone's cute little sister.

That's why she was so great in 12 Years A Slave - she made us feel protective, not horny.

If People ever does a list for the 50 Most Pleasant-Looking or the 50 Most Amiable, I'd be all for Nyong'o.

As it is, I beg to differ!

5 things you need to know about Lupita

1. She was born in Mexico City in Mexico, to Kenyan parents, and grew up in Nairobi, Kenya.

She graduated from the Yale School of Drama with a master's degree in acting and was still an unknown when she was cast in Steve McQueen's historical drama 12 Years A Slave as tortured cotton plantation slave Patsey.

2. Her feature film debut has won her more than 20 awards so far, including the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

3. She appeared in fashion brand Miu Miu's Spring-Summer 2014 collection and joined cosmetics company Lancome as its new brand ambassador.

4. She does not have another movie lined up yet, but according to the Los Angeles Times, she has reportedly signed with US talent agency Creative Artists Agency. She will be represented by Hylda Queally, who is considered one of the most powerful women in Hollywood and who also represents high-profile actresses such as Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet and Penelope Cruz.

5. She is said to be dating, since last September, 36-year-old Somalia-born rapper K'naan, who has two sons from a previous marriage.

Most beautiful for real

This year, People magazine has concocted a bizarre list of the world's supposedly Most Beautiful gals.

Keri Russell? Pink? Mindy Kaling? Please!

Beauty isn't about making everyone feel special, it's about being special. Here are our picks of who should have made the list, instead.


The Mother Of Dragons is the most beautiful woman of the year. (Emilia Clarke, the brunette British actress who plays her, is okay too.) She's dainty yet commanding; pixie-faced yet fierce; seductive yet untouchable.


In a word: Wow! The US Sports Illustrated model-turned-actress, who stars in rom-com The Other Woman, is a physical specimen like no other. Her giant boobs warp space and time, generating their own gravitational field. Her zero-G photoshoot is epic, classic cheesecake.


As soon as Robbie walked on screen in the Martin Scorsese flick The Wolf Of Wall Street, it became apparent she's a star. It takes a special sort of hotness to wrap a player like Leonardo DiCaprio around your finger, and the Aussie actress has it.

This article was published on April 25 in The New Paper.

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