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Lupita Nyong'o named People's most beautiful person of 2014

Story highlights

  • The actress was a fashion star during the awards season
  • She has spoken of feeling "unbeautiful"
  • She told "Today" she is flattered by the honor

Lupita Nyong'o is having quite the ride.

The "12 Years a Slave" actress has won an Oscar for best supporting actress, signed a deal with cosmetics giant Lancôme to become its first black ambassador, and now People magazine has bestowed one of its highest honors on her - "Most Beautiful person for 2014."

The Mexican-born Kenyan beauty joins a cast of Hollywood A-listers who have headed the list, including Julia Roberts, Cindy Crawford, Tom Cruise and Beyonce. This year she topped others on the list including "The Americans" star Keri Russell, singer Pink and Johnny Depp's future wife, actress Amber Heard.

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During the 2014 awards season Nyong'o was often hailed for being one of the most fashionable on the red carpet. She made headlines in February for a moving speech she gave while accepting the best breakthrough performance award at the 7th annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon.

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"I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful," she said. "I put on the TV and only saw pale skin. I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin."

The actress told "Today's" Savannah Guthrie that she was moved by People naming her the most beautiful.

    "I'm flattered, but flattered sounds like such a flighty word, you know? I'm flattered with, like, gravitas under it," she said.

    This year's most beautiful cover issue is the 25th annual for People magazine. The first honor went to actress Michelle Pfeiffer in 1990, and last year's most beautiful person was Gwyneth Paltrow.

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