Lupita Nyong'o is People magazine's Most Beautiful person, the magazine announced Wednesday.

Nyong'o won an Oscar earlier this year for role as the slave Patsey in Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" and recently landed a contract with Lancome Paris. I don't know what that last part means, but it sounds important.

"It was exciting and just a major, major compliment," the 31-year-old said, of being on this year's cover. "I was happy for all the girls who would see me on (it) and feel a little more seen."

Born in Mexico and raised in Kenya, Nyong'o said she first equated beauty with what she saw on television: "Light skin and long, flowing, straight hair," she says. "Subconsciously you start to appreciate those things more than what you possess."

This image provided by People magazine shows the cover of its special "World’s Most Beautiful" issue, featuring Lupita Nyong’o. The
This image provided by People magazine shows the cover of its special "World's Most Beautiful" issue, featuring Lupita Nyong'o. The 31-year-old actress, who won a best supporting actress Oscar for her role in "12 Years a Slave, " tops the magazine's list, announced Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (AP Photo/People)

She said her mother, Dorothy -- the managing director and head of PR for the Africa Cancer Foundation -- "always said I was beautiful," Nyong'o said. "And I finally believed her at some point."

The latest issue of the magazine hits newsstands Friday.

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