Lupita Nyong’o, winner of this year’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 12 Years a Slave, gave a moving speech about self acceptance and beauty at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood event.
She speaks eloquently about growing up and not feeling beautiful because of the darkness of her skin. That no matter how often her mother told her she was beautiful, she “…began to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy.” It wasn’t until she was older and started to see images in the media that reflected what she looked like (in the form of model Alek Wek) that she became more comfortable with her looks and realized that “…beauty was not a thing I could acquire or consume, it’s something that I just had to be.”
As a portrait photographer, I can see this same struggle in people that I photograph. They’re hesitant. They need to loose a little weight. Change their hair. Look a little younger. They don’t see the beauty they possess now, as they are.
That’s all I see and it’s what I want to capture in a photograph. The beauty and strength of who they are, right now, inside and out. Thanks Lupita, for reminding us of the importance of loving ourselves for who we are and the importance of showing that to others.