For “The Culture of Hair” issue, Allure called on Nyong’o’s hairstylist, Vernon Francois, to give Lupita some stunning looks:
Editor in chief Michelle Lee talked to the Oscar winner about her hair, her relationship with it and more in a delightful interview.
Nyong’o says she “didn’t love” her hair when she was a child because “it was lighter than my skin, which made me not love it so much.”
“I was really kind of envious of girls with thicker, longer, more lush hair. In my tween years, I started begging my mother to have my hair relaxed,” she said.
“She wouldn’t allow it, though her hair was relaxed. She felt that that was a decision I could come to when I was maybe 18,” she continued. “Around 13 or 14, I had such a rough time with being teased and feeling really unpretty. My dad intervened and spoke to my mom about my hair, and she finally agreed. She took me to the salon in the middle of the school day, and I got my hair relaxed. I felt so much better because it was easier to tame. All the girls in my class had their hair relaxed. Very few had natural kink, so I felt a lot more acceptable.”
The “Black Panther” star also talked about the time she shaved her head (“I didn’t tell anybody except for my hairdresser. When I got home, my mother was horrified. She was just like, ‘What have you done to my hair?’”) and how she’s fallen in love with her locks as she’s grown older.
“I love my hair. I love it because I’ve also been able to really embrace the stuff it can do. It’s like clay in the right hands. Clay can be dirt in the wrong hands, but clay can be art in the right hands,” she said.
Twitter has been celebrating the interview and photos since they dropped on Monday:
Nyong’o herself even shared her happiness with the shoot, tweeting: “Hallelujah! Thank you to the great @vernonfrancois for always gilding my crown of hair, always empowering and transforming my kinks and curls, and to @Allure_magazine for this refreshing feature.”