Lupita Nyong’o has always been a red carpet superstar, regularly taking bold risks, and thinking outside the box when it comes to black tie dressing.
After all, it’s not every actress who can take a turn on the Cannes red carpet and instantly turn it into an endlessly meme-able iconic style moment, or spark a thoughtful conversation over traditional African styles and appropriation with a simple Met Gala hairdo.
All of which is just a roundabout way of saying the fashion-forward actress is more than deserving of her third Vogue cover for the magazine’s October issue.
On the fashion magazine’s latest cover, the actress looks absolutely radiant in a portrait shot by Mario Testino. In the image, Lupita wears a lavishly embroidered and embellished floral-print Chanel dress in warm autumnal hues paired with a delicate pair of Cathy Waterman drop earrings, and a rich purple gele.
And this isn’t the first time the Queen of Katwe star has donned one of these traditional Nigerian wraps, throughout her latest press tour, she’s paired a different lush, stylish headpiece, paying homage to her Kenyan roots and the Ugandan character she plays in her new film.
In the editorial accompanying her cover story, Nyong’o also wears an Olowu silk coat and skirt with a Cult Gaia turban, and a flowing floral Chloé dress paired with another wrap, Cara Croninger earrings, and Christian Louboutin sandals.
In her interview inside the magazine’s pages, the Oscar winner gets real about the world’s warped beauty standards, saying, “The European sense of beauty affects us all.
I came home from college in the early two-thousands and saw ads on TV with a girl who can’t get a job. She uses this product. She gets her skin lighter. She gets the job. The lording of lighter skin is a common thing growing up in Nairobi. Being called ‘black mamba.’ The slow burn of recognizing something else is better than you.”
But it was not until she saw South Sudanese model Alek Wek, who she said was “dark as night” and “looked so much like me,” that she realized beauty doesn’t have to look like the industry’s status quo.
And now, in turn, the actress hopes to open other people’s eyes as well, saying, “Alek Wek changed how dark people saw themselves. That I could do the same in a way for somebody somewhere is amazing. There is no point in getting your picture taken if it doesn’t move somebody. Right?” When discussing her new film, she concluded, “Being able to use my platform to expand and diversify the African voice, I feel very passionate about that. It feels intentional, meaningful.”