Photo: Getty Images

By Kathleen Perricone

On Wednesday morning, the magazine named 12 Years a Slave actress Lupita Nyong’o as its Most Beautiful star for 2014.

“It was exciting and just a major, major compliment,” the 31-year-old gushes. “I was happy for all the girls who would see me on [it] and feel a little more seen.”

Lupita, who was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya, adds that her mother Dorothy ”always said I was beautiful. And I finally believed her at some point.”

Check out a behind-the-scenes video of Lupita at her People photoshoot: