Lupita Nyong’o is one of the brightest stars in the world right now. An Oscar winner, Tony nominee and model, Lupita Nyong’o is not afraid to stand out from the crowd, and that is exactly what she’s doing, and no one is going to stop her.
The actress was born in Mexico, but was raised in Kenya until the age of sixteen. Growing up with an artistic family, Lupita often conducted plays with her five siblings.
Lupita has always had an interest in performance; her first stage production was a minor role in Oliver Twist. She completed her first major role as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet by the Nairobi-based theatre company Phoenix Players. Studying at Hampshire College, Lupita gained her degree in film and theatre studies. She then went on to gain a Master’s Degree in Acting from Yale School of Drama.
It was soon after her graduation that she starred in the Steve McQueen film “12 Years A Slave”. The film won multiple awards, including three Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA Award, and was named one of the best films of 2013. Lupita, herself, won an Academy Award for the Best Supporting Actress, making her the first Kenyan actress and the first Mexican actress to win an Academy Award.
Lupita hit the stage on Broadway in 2015, where she played a teenage orphan (The Girl), in the play Eclipsed. There she won multiple awards for her performance, as well as being nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.
With all these awards under her belt, it’s no surprise she’s a huge inspiration for women all over the world. Growing up in an environment where she could not recognise herself in the entertainment industry, “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” she told Elle UK.
In 2014, she became the first black woman to be the face of Lancôme, “I am proud to represent Lancôme’s unique vision for women and the idea that beauty should not be dictated, but should instead be an expression of a woman’s freedom to be herself” Lupita says.
Lupita grew up inspired by a few women in the acting and beauty industry, mostly Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey and supermodel, Alek Wek. Ms Wek especially made an impact on Lupita at a young age, “She was dark as night and was in all the magazines and on runways. My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome. I couldn’t believe that people were embracing a woman who looked so much like me as beautiful.” she said in an interview.
Lupita continues to break barriers in the beauty and acting industry in more ways than one. She is a true inspiration for men and women who feel that they are being stopped from pursuing their dreams, or being told they’re not good enough, as she said in her Oscar’s acceptance speech, “When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.” Lupita proves every day that if you work hard and believe in yourself, you can do anything.