The Real Essence of Beauty – Tear Jerking Speech by Lupita Nyong’o

Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o’s speech on beauty is one that every woman and girl should hear. Before reading my words, please listen to Lupita’s enchanting, raw and tear-inducing words.

Lupita’s speech at the Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon is one of hope, and one most women can relate to. As a Caucasian woman, I cannot pretend to understand what it feels like to be a woman of color; however, I do know what it feels like to be a woman and like Lupita, “I remember [many] a time when I too felt unbeautiful.”

Why do we constantly compare ourselves to others? Why is it hard to feel good enough? Lupita hit the nail on the head; there is a part of us that “enjoys the seduction of inadequacy.” It is too common for women to one-up each other as we self-deprecate our bodies.

Growing up I was extremely modest and uncomfortable with my body. It took a long time to be able to look at myself in the mirror and smile, rather than look at the mirror and examine every fault. Like Lupita, my mother told me time and again that I was beautiful, but it took time for me to believe her. I love the wise words Lupita’s mother said to her and the eventual understanding Lupita gleaned:

“My mother again would say to me, ‘You can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t feed you.’ And these words plagued and bothered me; I didn’t really understand them until I finally realized that beauty was not a thing I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be. And what my mother meant when she said you can’t eat beauty was that you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul.”

Yes! We must have compassion for ourselves first and for those around us. I appreciate Lupita’s honest tears that came as she said those words. I imagine her tears flowed because of the continued challenge to live her words, to truly believe that she is beautiful.

“And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey. That you will feel the validation of your external beauty but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside. There is no shade to that beauty.”

We can all be images of hope, like Lupita. We need role models that look like us, and where there are none, we can be the first role model. I know that part of my drive to be a leader in tech, is to increase the number of women in leadership roles, particularly in an industry where we are still in the minority.

Lupita’s speech is an inspiring example of speaking from the heart, sharing raw emotion, writing down words so as not to forget them, and speaking powerfully through the tears. Now, time to “get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.”

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