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Lupita Nyong'o on the cover of Vogue.

Lupita Nyong’o on the cover of Vogue. Photo by Mario Testino for Vogue.

Starlet Lupita Nyong’o recently showed Vogue magazine her beloved Kenya in the newly released October issue.

Lupita Nyong’o graces the cover of the October issue of Vogue. She takes Vogue and the rest of the world on a tour of her beloved Kenya, sharing its beauty from her perspective. The photos are by Mario Testino and styled by Tonne Goodman.

Nyong’o takes Vogue on a tour, including dinner with her family at her father’s farm in Kisumu. While there, Lupita’s mother teaches the actress and Vogue readers how to make ugali, a traditional Kenyan food.

The visit was part of a publicity tour for her latest film Queen of Katwe. The film stars Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, and Madina Nalwanga. The film is about the rise of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi, who becomes a Woman Candidate Master after winning the World Chess Olympiads.

Related: Queen of Katwe: Another White, Paternalistic Narrative of Rugged Individualism

“To play a mother of four in Uganda, a formidable mother who has so much working against her, was so compelling to me. It wasn’t something I thought I’d be asked to do,” she said.

This is Nyongo’s second time on the cover of the magazine, and she is only the ninth Black woman and second African woman cover the fashion magazine.

To put that in perspective, it should be noted that Vogue magazine was founded in 1892.

In 124 years, there have only been nine Black women on the cover of the fashion magazine. Even if the magazine had only been published once a month (which it was not — it started out as a weekly magazine, moved to biweekly and then found its monthly cadence), that would mean that there were 1,488 issues and only nine of those cover girls were Black.

With those numbers in mind, this makes the work of Nyong’o that much more important.

“The European sense of beauty affects us all,” she says in the Vogue interview. “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.”


“Being able to use my platform to expand and diversify the African voice,” Nyong’o told Vogue, “I feel very passionate about that. It feels intentional, meaningful.”

“I want to create opportunities for other people of color because I’m fortunate enough to have a platform to do that. That is why Eclipsed and even Queen of Katwe are so important, to change the narrative, offer a new lens on African identity.”

Queen of Katwe premiered at the Toronto Independent Film Festival and will be in theaters across the U.S. later this month.

Visit Vogue for interview and spectacular photoshoot.


Laurel Dickman is an intersectional feminist, plus size model, stylist, and fat activist that can also be found via her blogs, Exile In Dietville and 2 Broke Bitches. She grew up in the south between Florida and North Carolina, migrating to the Portland, OR in 2005. All three places inform her perspective of the world around her a great deal. While in Portland, she worked with the Alley 33 Annual Fashion Show, PudgePDX, PDX Fatshion, Plumplandia, and numerous other projects over the near decade that she was there. In August of 2014, she moved to the Bay area with her partner, David and trusty kitty, Dorian Gray. She continues her body positive and intersectional feminism through various forms of activism, fashion, photography projects, and writing from her home in the East Bay. She can be reached at laurel@wyvmag.com and encourages readers to reach out to her to collaborate!

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