Lupita Nyong'o feels "invisible" because of the lack of dark-skinned women on TV and in films.
The Oscar-winning actress claims dark-skinned women are underrepresented in Western culture and admitted she can identify with very few on-screen characters.
The 32-year-old star said: "If you turn on the television and you are not represented on that television, you become invisible to yourself.
"And there was very little of myself that I saw on TV, or in the movies that I was watching, or in magazines that were lying around the salons or around the house.
"And so these are subconscious things. Yes, Western beauty standards are things that affect the entire world.
"And then what happens? You're a society that doesn't value darker skin."
Lupita - who is best known for her starring role in '12 Years a Slave' - also recalled the sense of loneliness she felt as a black woman living in Mexico, where she was born and lived during her later teenage years, having spent the bulk of her childhood in Kenya.
She told Elle magazine: "People would stop and take pictures of us just because we were black.
"And it was a time during that tricky adolescent phase when you're coming into yourself and you're trying to pave your own way but you're insecure about where you lie. It devastated me."