People Magazine Names Oscar Winner Lupita

Nyong'o the 'Most Beautiful' Person of the Year Actress questions if children today still equate beauty with light skin and long, flowing straight hair.
3:41 | 04/23/14

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Transcript for People Magazine Names Oscar Winner Lupita
Just today people magazine named Oscar winner the most beautiful person of the year. Other african American women, beyonce, Halle Barry have graced the cover. But she has said it was painful for her to be a young girl growing up with very dark skin. We wanted to know if children today still absorbed that painful message about dark and light skin and ABC's Deborah Roberts had a personal reason to seek an answer. Reporter: The most beautiful woman of the year, quite a turn for the actress who shared a heart-breaking secret. My one prayer to god was that I would wake up light skinned. Reporter: Owning up to deep-rooted pain many black women have felt for years. Reporting the story for "Good morning America" I, too, found myself shaken by old wounds. I understand her journey. Reporter: Choking up on air. My personal revelation led to an outpouring on online messages. So many others sharing that dark shame. In twenty 14 with the prominence of women like Michelle Obama and beyonce, surely color and beauty must not be an issue. So with a group of 5 to 8-year-olds we took a snapshot of the famous 1939 doll test. Black kids presented with two dolls overwhelmingly preferred the white one. We started by showing each girl throw dolls dressed identically but with different shades of skin color. Which one do you think is the most beautiful? Reporter: We're encouraged to see this girl choose a girl that looks like her. Why is this doll more beautiful than these two? It looks mostly like me. Reporter: Her confidence shining through. But then watch. We're stunned again and again. The girls choose the white doll. So this is the most beautiful doll? Reporter: Why? Because she has blond hair. Her shirt and boots and hair. Because she has blond hair. I like her hair. Because she has blond hair. Reporter: What does that say to you about what message they're getting? Blonder lighter features are seen as the most desirable. TV may be partly to blame. 76% of the faces we see are white and just 16% are black. Which might explain the girls response when asked who they would prefer to look like. I want to look like that one. Reporter: This black girl chooses the while doll and reveals the problem. Why do you guys think this doll wasn't as popular? Because they don't like brown. Reporter: For me a sobering moment of truth. Especially when we see what the girls do when asked which doll they would like to take home. A tug of war over that blond white doll. I spoke with researchers who specialize in body image and they say it's going to take a lot more. Diane, to truly change the way we look at ourselves and look at each other. You were saying show pictures and talk about skin color. Don't avoid the issue. It's not enough to buy them dolls. You need to talk about the dark skin and how beautiful it is alone. Talk about it. A great report. Thank you. Thank you. When we come back here,

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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