LUPITA NYONG’O

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Though she grew up thinking that “light skin and flowing, straight hair” made women desirable, World’s Most Beautiful Woman Nyong’o, 31, tells PEOPLE that her mother “always said I was beautiful. And I finally believed her at some point.” The Oscar winner, who’s now a face of Lancôme Paris, is excited for this honor in part because of “all the girls who would see me … and feel a little more seen.”

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