While she’s a highly sought-after actress now, Lupita Nyong’o struggled with getting her big break.
The Oscar winner, 36, joined Emily Maitlis on BBC’s “Newsnight” to promote her new children’s book, Sulwe, and revealed she was turned down for a role because of her skin colour.
“I once auditioned for something on TV and I was told I was too dark to be on television,” she recalled, before adding, “Colourism is born of racism.”
But it was something she’s struggled with her entire life.
“I had a younger sister who was born five years after me and she was a lot lighter and she got called pretty and beautiful and all of that,” Nyong’o explained. “She was praised for the lightness of her skin in a way that, I don’t recall being praised for the darkness in mine.”
She added, “Self-consciously that translates into ‘I’m not worthy.'”
And that mindset affected the “Little Monsters” star’s entire life: “I definitely grew up feeling uncomfortable with my skin colour because I felt like the world around me awarded lighter skin.”
But those feelings are what inspired her new book about a girl with darker skin than her family.
Sulwe is available now.