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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Oscar-winning actor Lupita Nyong’o accuses magazine of editing her hair

The 12 Years A Slave star said Grazia edited her hair to fit “Eurocentric” ideals

Lupita Nyong'o complained her hair had been airbrushed out of a picture on the front cover of women's magazine Grazia UK. Angela Weiss/ AFP Photo
Lupita Nyong'o complained her hair had been airbrushed out of a picture on the front cover of women's magazine Grazia UK. Angela Weiss/ AFP Photo

Lupita Nyong’o has accused a British magazine of editing her hair in its front cover to fit “Eurocentric” ideals of what hair should look like.

The 34-year-old actor, who won an Academy Award in 2014 for her role in 12 Years A Slave, shared an image of the front cover of Grazia UK alongside what is believed to be the original image on social media.

In the cover image, some of Ms Nyong’o’s hair is shorter and smoother, with some of it clearly missing from the original photo.

Ms Nyong’o, who is Kenyan-Mexican, said on Twitter that the fashion magazine had digitally altered her hair “to fit a more Eurocentric notion of what beautiful hair looks like”.

In a separate Instagram post, the Star Wars actor explained why she had been so offended in more detail, using the hashtag #dtmh, which stands for: Don’t touch my hair.

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“I embrace my natural heritage and despite having grown up thinking light skin and straight, silky hair were the standards of beauty, I now know that my dark skin and kinky, coily hair are beautiful too,” she wrote.

“Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfills me as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are.”

“Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women’s complexion, hair style and texture,” she added.

Grazia, published by Bauer media, apologised to Ms Nyong’o but said its staff were unaware that the photo had been airbrushed.

The magazine said in a statement: “Grazia is committed to representing diversity throughout its pages and apologises unreservedly to Lupita Nyong’o. Grazia magazine would like to make it clear that at no point did they make any editorial request to the photographer for Lupita Nyong’o’s hair to be altered on this week’s cover, nor did we alter it ourselves. But we apologise unreservedly for not upholding the highest of editorial standards in ensuring that we were aware of all alterations that had been made.”