Proof That Lupita Nyong'o Can Pull Off Any Beauty Trend

"It's an adornment. It's something that can accentuate different aspects of yourself. It's fun, it's expression, it's art on the body," said Lupita Nyong'o, describing what she loves most about makeup. But, even though the Hollywood actress is known for her bold beauty looks now, she wasn't always so experimental with her look.

The Lancôme ambassador remembers when, while working as an assistant in the fashion industry, her boss asked her what she was wearing to an important business meeting. "I said I had a red dress and she looked at me like, Ahhhh! She encouraged me to wear muter colors, so I ended up purchasing all these black and navy items that just weren't me."

Now, Nyong'o is an Oscar-winning actress who wears whatever the hell she wants — and that usually means bright colors. "I like to surprise myself; I don’t want to take myself too seriously. I like beauty that’s bold enough to make me snicker," she said.

Ahead, Lupita takes us through some of her most playful red carpet looks to date.

Photo: Amanda Edwards/WireImage.
12 Years a Slave premiere, 2013

"Nick Barose did the makeup and Larry Sims did the hair for this premiere. I remember being really, really excited about the smoky eye — I do love a smoky eye — and this pink lip. I don’t think I'd ever worn a color like that before and I didn’t know whether it would work with my skin, but it did."
Photo: Donato Sardella/Getty Images.
The Academy Awards, 2014

"I remember this was a super-stressful time. Everyone walked into my hotel room looking really nervous, and I said, 'No, we're not doing it like this — no extra pressure.' So we put on Beyoncé and had a dance party, then Nick worked his magic and Larry followed suit."
Photo: John Sciulli/Getty Images.
NAACP Image Awards, 2014

"We're always informed by the dress and this is Givenchy. I absolutely loved the burnt orange. Nick added rosier colors on my eyes and the hair was inspired by the two panels on the dress."
Photo: Camilla Morandi/Corbis/Getty Images.
Cannes Film Festival, 2015

"This was at Cannes and we were on the Riviera and it was so romantic — a real princess moment. Vernon [François] gave me a sort of crown and big afro bun, which we called a 'fronut.'"
Photo: Mike Marsland/WireImage.
Star Wars European premiere, 2015

"Nick and I had fantasized about this blue lipstick; it was kind of a dream goal at some point to wear it and then this Proenza Schouler outfit came together. It was just so futuristic and space age-y, so that’s what inspired the whole look. It seemed like the prime time for blue."

Editor's note: To achieve the customized lipstick, makeup artist Nick Barose combined Lancôme's Drama Liqui-Pencil in Minuit with Color Design Eyeshadow in Sapphire Lace, using lip balm as a glossy mixing medium.
Photo: Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty Images.
The Met Gala, 2016

"Vernon did the hair. We exchange inspirational images all the time and we were inspired by these hairdos from the African continent and a ‘do Nina Simone had with diamonds in her hair."
Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.
Women In Hollywood Awards, 2016

"Nick had a fantasy of doing this eye that was inspired by a model in the '70s or '80s — this kind of double-edged eye — and I loved it."
Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images.
The Met Gala, 2017

"This hair was just inspired by thoughts in my head at the time. We kind of go with the flow and think about silhouette and we figure it out from there. Again, it's always informed by the dress; this one had these flower petals and we wanted the hair to feel just as airy as the dress."
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.
Comic-Con, 2017

"The outfit was very loud, so for the makeup, we wanted something more subtle and fresh. Then Vernon had this insane idea of wrapping my braids in locs, so this is twist braids and locs in my hair."
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