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Lupita Nyong’o Is the New Face of Lancôme: ‘Beauty is Compassion for Yourself and Those Around You’

Lupita Nyong'o with smokey blue eye shadow

Image: WENN

"I'm sure all the makeup and skincare brands were after her," said tFSer t-rex, responding to the news that Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o had signed on as the new face of Lancôme. Although the Nyong'o's rise to fame has been predicated on much, much more than her phenomenal style (there's also that "acting" thing she does), when she first emerged in the public eye last Fall, the fashion and beauty worlds fell all over themselves praising her easy elegance and color sense.

"It’s not just her sartorial choices that are garnering her lavish praise—the lipstick she wears on the red carpet has also become somewhat of a signature during her short time in the spotlight," wrote last November, in a post titled "The Lipstick Adventures of Lupita Nyong’o." Fast forward to six months later: Clarins' HydraQuench Moisture Replenishing Lip Balm sold out and went viral because Lupita pulled it out of her purse during the Oscars

Although the actress appeared in her first major campaign for fashion brand Miu Miu's Spring 2014 ads, cosmetics contracts are typically considered the most lucrative and prestigious deals — the "crown jewel" of spokesmodel campaigns. With Lupita's distinctive makeup look and immense popularity, it was only a matter of time before signed on with a big beauty brand. 

Speaking with WWD, Nyong'o explained what led her to sign on with the cosmetics giant: "I had to give a speech about beauty right before the Oscars and for me, beauty is a compassion for yourself and those around you. And I think that in focusing on that, the light inside illuminates the beauty outside. The idea that Lancôme now has a few actor ambassadors is significant because actors are not just faces, they are spirits that people enjoy and relate to more than in an aesthetic way. We have the privilege of standing for something other than just looks.”

Although that statement might scan unfavorably to readers who prefer to see models — rather than celebrities — cast in fashion and beauty campaigns, Nyong'o follows her remarks by name-checking South Sudanese top model Alek Wek as an inspiration: "When she came on the scene, I felt more seen. Having me on a huge campaign like this will hopefully do that for other girls or people who feel unseen or underseen.”

Nyong'o is the second high-profile black woman to sign a contract with a major cosmetics within the past week: Last Friday, L'Oreal Paris released a campaign image with the brand's new spokesmodel, Zoe Saldana