Skip to main content

Lupita Nyong'o's special 'Sesame Street' message

By David Daniel, CNN
updated 1:23 PM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Lupita Nyong'o visited
Lupita Nyong'o visited "Sesame Street" Tuesday with an important message of self-acceptance.
  • Lupita Nyong'o had a special message on "Sesame Street" Tuesday
  • She encouraged the kids watching to "love the skin you're in"
  • The Oscar winner has spoken about her struggle with self-acceptance

(CNN) -- Lupita Nyong'o wants children to understand something she didn't when she was growing up: Love the skin you're in.

The Oscar-winning actress further cemented her superstar status Tuesday with an appearance on "Sesame Street" to talk about skin with Elmo -- who, it turns out, has red skin under his iconic red fur.

The "love the skin you're in" line comes at the very end of the clip, after a conversation about how skin protects us and allows us to feel things. When Elmo notices that Nyong'o's skin is "a beautiful brown color," Nyong'o replies, "That's the thing I love most about skin ... skin comes in lots of beautiful shades and colors."

It's no surprise that Nyong'o appeared on "Sesame Street" to deliver that particular message. Although she's People magazine's "Most Beautiful" person for 2014, the actress has spoken about how, as a child, she felt anything but.

Lupita Nyong'o named People's most beautiful person of 2014

Accepting an award in February at the seventh annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon, Nyong'o told the crowd of her childhood struggle with self-hate and her prayers for lighter skin.

It wasn't until Nyong'o saw celebrated fashion model Alek Wek that her feelings began to change. The shift was gradual, Nyong'o said, but "a flower couldn't help but bloom inside of me."

Eventually, the actress said, she "realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be." And now she can say, as she told her young viewers on "Sesame Street," "I love my skin."