LUPITA NYONG'O tops "People" magazine's Most Beautiful list.  She says that when she was young, she equated beauty with what she saw on TV ... quote, "light skin and long, flowing, straight hair."  But she adds, quote, "[My mother] always said I was beautiful.  And I finally believed her at some point." 

Here's Lupita talking about the honor on the "Today" show yesterday ...

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and here's video of her talking about the moment at 16 when she realized she was beautiful.  

Check out the full coverage here. Along with a slideshow of some of winners ... where Pink is NAKED.