Social media can be very empowering… when it comes to beauty and self-image because you have the power to put forth your best foot. You’re in control of how people see you. But at the same time, social media is a platform in which a lot of people are creating an illusion of what their entire life is. So I think social media can be a way to empower yourself, but it can also be discouraging if you let it consume you. Someone once said to me, ‘Don’t read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly’. It really depends on your paradigm. Everyone should take social media with a grain of salt because it’s not the whole picture.
My approach to social media is… I like to put things up that make me smile, make me laugh, or make me think. I consider whom it is I’m talking to and think about whether or not it will be useful to that person. I don’t like self-gratifying things. There’s enough negativity in the world, and I don’t want to be a part of that. I intend to spread a sense of love and well-being.
The actress I most admire is… Penélope Cruz. I admire how open and daring and honest she is onscreen. She works in four different languages and finds honesty in those languages. That is just divine. I remember a story she told about the very first time she did an English-speaking film with Stephen Frears. She didn’t speak a lick of English except for the words on the page of the script. The fact that she’s bold enough to take a role with such limitation is commendable. She’s completely open and not afraid of failure. To me, that is a fierce, fierce actress.
On motivation… I think my motivation changes with time. Right now it’s that I recognise the privilege and position I have. A lot of doors have been opened for me, and I feel very humbled about that. I know not everyone has the opportunities I’ve had, and I just want to make good of them.
Selecting a favourite red carpet look is…. impossible for me to choose one. I’ve had a series of deeply memorable experiences in every single dress. I will always remember the Prada gown I wore to the Oscars (in 2014) – not only because I won the Oscar but also because I introduced my father to Sidney Poitier that night. At the BAFTAs two years ago in the green Dior dress, I braved the cold, and the cold is something I don’t do very well. It was traumatic. There are pictures of me smiling, and I remember feeling quite triumphant. I also introduced my mother to Oprah that night. That was major.
The story behind my can’t-live-without make-up item… I was at the Toronto Film Festival when my make-up artist, Nick Barose, used Lancôme’s Subtil blush in Plum on my cheeks. It was the first time I’d seen blush on my face that didn’t look funny. As dark as I am, when I’d wear blush it didn’t necessarily show up. So to have something that just perked me up and lifted my cheeks was nice. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and asking Nick what product he used on my cheeks because I wanted it for myself. I needed to know the exact name.
My fitness mantra is… I believe in engaging my body in physical exercise almost every day. At the same time, I’m not too militant about it. I definitely feel better when I’ve stretched and allowed my blood to flow for the day. I do a lot of cardiovascular work, including dance. But I don’t like having too much of a strict routine. I’m glad I no longer argue myself out of exercise, which I definitely did in the past. I actually enjoy it now.
When I want to wind down… I’m a sucker for baths, and I also love a good massage. I think the gift of human touch is irreplaceable.
– Lupita Nyong’o is the face of Lâncome Juicy Shaker, Dhs119