Los Angeles: She was the queen of Hollywood's award season and now actress Lupita Nyong'o has been declared as the most beautiful woman by a magazine.

Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita Nyong'o. Pic/AFP

The 31-year-old star, who won the best supporting actress Oscar for her poignant portrayal of slave girl Patsey in Steve McQueen's '12 Years a Slave', says growing up she never thought she would be called beautiful.

"It was exciting and just a major, major compliment. I was happy for all the girls who would see me on [it] and feel a little more seen," the 31-year-old star said about landing on the cover of People magazine.

Born in Mexico and raised in Kenya, Nyong'o says she first equated beauty with what she saw on television: "Light skin and long, flowing, straight hair.

Subconsciously you start to appreciate those things more than what you possess." Her mother "always said I was beautiful," Nyong'o adds. "And I finally believed her at some point."

Now she says the best compliments are "when I have been called beautiful with not one drop of makeup on. And also before I comb my hair or put on a pretty dress. Happiness is the most important thing."