Lupita Nyong’o is not taking her time in the spotlight lightly.

In a cover story for this week’s Entertainment Weekly, the Oscar nominee says she hopes her success will inspire young girls.

“I feel very fortunate to be in this position, and I know that it means more to people because I am an African and I am dark-skinned,” she says. “In many ways me being on the scene is doing for little girls everywhere what Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg did for me.

“My world exploded by them being on screen. Hopefully I will inspire and be meaningful to other people.”

The cover features Nyong’o alongside fellow Oscar nominee, Cate Blanchett.

So what’s next for the 12 Years a Slave star? Whether more films or the stage, she’ll do it her way. “I can’t take on other people’s dreams for me,” she says. “I can only dream for myself.”

EW’s cover feature of Nyong’o and Blanchett hits newsstands this Friday, Feb. 21.