Lupita Nyong'o Exposes British Magazine for Photoshopping Her Hair

Lupita Nyong’o is a 34-year-old Kenyan-Mexican Actress, famous for her role of “Patsey” in 12 Year’s A Slave. Since her debut as an actress, Lupita has appeared in movies such as The Jungle Book and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Additionally, she has been seen on the covers of magazines such as Vogue, Essence, InStyle, and Elle.

After doing a photo shoot with British magazine Grazia UK, Lupita was incredibly disappointed to discover the alterations made to her cover shot. In the original shoot, she sported a slicked back low ponytail. The ponytail featured Lupita’s iconic black curls, which she refers to as her “kinky, coily hair.” However, as seen in the comparison Lupita tweeted below, Grazia Magazine took it upon themselves to actually blur the coils out.

Courtesy: Twitter 

This move by Grazia UK was incredibly shocking because it was made without Lupita’s knowledge, let alone her permission. As a result, she took to social media to express her discontent with the incident. In addition to her tweet (pictured above), Lupita posted the following message on Instagram:


“As I have made clear so often in the past with every fiber of my being, I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty, I now know that my dark skin and kinky, coily hair are beautiful too. Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfills me as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are. I am disappointed that @graziauk invited me to be on their cover and then edited out and smoothed my hair to fit their notion of what beautiful hair looks like. Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women's complexion, hair style and texture. #dtmh

In the Instagram post, Lupita explains her previous struggles with beauty standards being defined on the basis of race. Despite these difficulties, however, she is incredibly proud of her heritage. This pride she takes in her culture comes with an appreciation for the aspects of her appearance that distinguish her from other models in the industry.

From her skin to her hair, Lupita embraces everything about her look and seeks to inspire other women to do the same. Unfortunately, this is difficult for her to do considering the number of predominately white beauty standards acting as a driving force in the community.


As seen above, something similar happened to Solange Knowles when her cover shot for Evening Standard was also altered to depict a more flattened out and “Eurocentric” look. Solange’s photographer for the shoot took to Instagram saying, “I am also saddened that [Evening Standard Magazine] chose to alter the image by removing such a powerful aspect of it.”

Because of situations like these, the natural beauty of black women is often “white-washed” and censored to fit the needs of the predominant culture. After hours of buzz on the internet, Grazia UK made a public statement on Twitter that reads as follows:

Courtesy: Twitter 

Fortunately, Grazia UK chose to acknowledge the situation and even apologize for the role they played in it. However, this incident truly never should have happened. From slimming a model’s waist to lightening up a model’s skin tone, unconsented photoshop has become a trend in the beauty industry. These magazines are thereby feeding into the stereotypes of the beauty industry. Instead, the industry could be working to spread positivity about the uniqueness associated with different cultural backgrounds. While we would love to see an overnight change in beauty standards, it is only with the encouragement of powerful women like Lupita Nyong’o and Solange Knowles that true progress can be made!