It may mean that he thinks that you are a beautiful person inside and out but didn't notice how beautiful until he got to know the person you are, it may also mean that you are not the type to stand out like to wear alot of makeup or dress up and that you have a natural beauty that not everyone notices until they get to know you and then they realize that you are beautiful inside and out.
He may be talking about the whole package your hair, your facial feature are not like any other woman's the classic look is blonde hair skinny body model types if your look is different from that, that may be what he meant. Maybe your lips are fuller or you are olive complexion or you have more curves. That is usually what exotic means, that you stand out from a crowd.
There are many Chinese people that don't look Chinese like Chinese/Americans that are born to a Chinese mother and American father they don't look like they are Chinese but they look unique from everyone else. I wouldn't take it the wrong way it's always good to be unique. If we all looked like it's would be a boring world we would live in.
There are many people that are exotic looking Halle Barry, Jessica Alba, Mariah Carey they are all exotic looking even thought they are beautiful they stand out as looking unique that is why you won't find anyone looking like them. Most beautiful have to try too hard to be pretty like wear alot of makeup, dress up all of the time, some even get plastic surgery to look prettier. Most exotic women can go without makeup and still look good. I think an Exotic woman doesn't have to wear alot of makeup to look a certain way it's just genetically in them like laying out to get a tan or going to a tanning booth.
Then you should ask him to clarify what he meant if it's bothering you, it's better to ask question than to worry yourself needlessly about what he meant by what he said, I think cookie cutter pretty is like a model or star. Cookie cutter cute is the norm model type cute. He is right some people liked the glamored out cute rather than a natural beauty or unique beauty.
I can only assume since I don't know his thinking, he may not have a way with words and there for his word can be taken the wrong way or taken in a confused way. Only he can clarify unique and exotic. Exotic means: of foreign origin or character; not native; introduced from abroad, but not fully naturalized or acclimatized. I really think he means your features are not the norm and tha the likes it but some people like that blondes that look alike and have the same features.