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."

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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