Beauty of the Day Lupita Nyong'o Wasn't Always a Red Carpet Trendsetter: 'I Was a Tomboy!'
She has starred in back-to-back hits Black Panther and Us and dominates on the red carpet as a trendsetter. But that wasn’t always the case for Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.
As a kid, “I was a tomboy!” insists the actress in this year’s Beautiful Issue, where she is named a Beauty of the Year. “My parents did not emphasize gender norms. I loved climbing trees and getting dirty outside. I also enjoyed playing tricks on my family—I still do!”
The Kenyan-Mexican star, 36, also has some advice to her 15-year-old self: “I would tell her to dance like no one was watching, enjoy boredom while she can and continue to stand for what she believes in,” Nyong’o says. “I would also tell her to listen to my mother and moisturize!”
As for her current beauty regimen, Nyong’o prefers to keep it simple when she isn’t on camera. “I really appreciate taking the opportunity to let my skin breathe,” she adds. “I love a nice moisturizer or face oil, a little eyeliner, a light application of a lengthening mascara, and a hydrating lip stain.”
The actress has perfected what works best when it comes to her skincare. “I hydrate, exercise, prioritize my sleep and moisturize,” Nyong’o says. “Shea butter does wonders for my skin and hair. No real tricks or shortcuts unfortunately, just tried and true diligence. I never go to sleep with makeup on. I use avocado oil to take off my makeup. And I use a Lancôme Genifique hydrating face mask at least once a week.”
When it comes to aging, Nyong’o knows exactly what kind of “old lady” she hopes to be: “A stubborn one for sure!” she says. “Hopefully one who is comfortable in her aging skin and body, surrounded by family and friends who have lived—and are still living—a full, gratifying life.”
For more from our Beautiful Issue, pick up the magazine when it hits newsstands on April 26 and check out all of our coverage on PEOPLE.com.