We’d like to say we’re surprised by new claims Vanity Fair lightened the skin of Lupita Nyong’o in their photo spread of the Mexican-born Kenyan actress, but the sad truth is we’re not. In the Age of Photoshop, such reports come fast and furious, particularly whenever a non-white actress lands a spot in a magazine. See Gabourey Sidibe. See Beyoncé.
Lupita, who received critical acclaim for her role in 12 Years a Slave, appears in the February Vanity Fair. A photo of her surrounded by giant white balloons shows a much lighter-skinned Lupita than, say, pictures from the Golden Globes, where Lupita was nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
As of publishing, the magazine had yet to address the claims though plenty of Twitter users have taken up the task. A Vanity Fair tweet related to the shoot sent out mid-afternoon January 15 — “The stunning @Lupita_Nyongo photographed for our February #Vanities section” — has more than 350 retweets and a running stream of comments that range from the wowed to the incensed.
Lupita hasn’t added her thoughts to the Twitter conversation yet. Instead she’s celebrating her Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, one of the nine 12 Years a Slave received earlier this morning. And we have to say she looks stunning in all of her untouched celebratory photos.