(NEW YORK) -- Lupita Nyong'o is having a very good year. After winning the Oscar for her role in 12 Years a Slave, the actress has now been named People magazine's "Most Beautiful."
"It was exciting and just a major, major compliment," Nyong'o said of nabbing the cover. "I was happy for all the girls who would see me on it and feel a little more seen."
Being a role model for other women like her is important for Nyong'o, who told People she first thought being beautiful meant having "light skin and long, flowing, straight hair."
"Subconsciously you start to appreciate those things more than what you possess," she added.
Nyong'o credits her mother, Dorothy, for finally convincing her that her own beauty was enough. The actress said her mother "always said I was beautiful. And I finally believed her at some point."
Nyong'o said she's received the most compliments on her looks when she doesn't have any makeup on, "and also before I comb my hair or put on a pretty dress. Happiness is the most important thing."
The Most Beautiful issue of People goes on sale this Friday.
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