Celebrities > Actress > 5 things to know about Lupita Nyong’o Date posted: October 23, 2013

5 things to know
Lupita Nyong’o

The 30 Years old Kenyan actress literally steals the scene from the impressive cast of 12 Years a slave with her tragic portrayal of the slave Patsey. Here are five things to know better about the most talked about potential winner of Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

Being noticed in an all-star cast like 12 Years a slave’s is not simple. The list of the actors in the new Oscar rumoured Steve McQueen movie read like a who’s who of Hollywood royalty: Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sarah Paulson, rising star Chiwetel Ejiofor and the youngest Best Actress nominee ever Quvenzhané Wallis.

Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o has made possible the impossible and with her intense, suffering and powerful portrait of Patsey. A cotton picker slave “victim of both the affections and the cruelty” of  her brutal owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), constantly burdened and whipped by his wife (Sarah Paulson), Lupita literally steals the show to the rest of the cast.

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Basically unknown before 12 Years a slave, Lupita is quickly becoming one the most promising Hollywood rising stars and one of the most stylish new fashion icons with her radiant red carpet looks. But who is Lupita Nyong’o? Here are five facts to get know her better.


credits: MuthoninJoba makeup artist

1) Family matters
According to IMDb Lupita was born in Mexico in 1983 to a Kenyan family: her father is politician,Anyang’ Nyong’o, Secretary General of Ornage Democratic Movement and former minister; her sister Isis Nyong’o Madison is a media and technology manager and was named one of Africa’s Top 20 Youngest Power Women’ by Forbes for several years running.

 2) School matters
Lupita was basically raised in Kenya but educated in the US. She is a graduate in film and theatre studies first from Hampshire College and then from prestigious Yale School of Drama. Her debut as an actress was on the Yale stage: she has played Perdita in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale and Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew; Sonya in Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and another appearance in Gertrude Stein’s Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights.

3) A 30 years old (Oscar winning?) debutant
Back in Kenya in 2008 she starred in a MTV explicit series called Shuga which promoted safe sex amongst young Kenyans. The full series is on Vimeo and here you can watch the first episode of what was called a sort of Real World: Kenya.

So, at 30 Years old, her role as Patsey in 12 Years a slave is basically her debut as a movie actress but things are going fast: last week Lupita received her first prize being honoured during the 17th Hollywood Film Awards in Los Angeles with the New Hollywood Award. Angela Bassett, introducing Lupita, said that her “breakthrough performance we’ll not soon forget”.


An overwhelmed Lupita accepted the award and thanked, of course, her family: “Especially my mummy who is here with me today, words cannot express how grateful I am for always believing in me”. What will she say if all the predictions and the buzz about her Best supporting actress Oscar nomination are true?
Oscar buzz or not, Lupita’s next movie will be an action movie. In the upcoming airplane thriller Non stop she will be in the cast with Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore and Michelle Dockery. But what she loves to do the most is drama. As she told in an interview with IndieWire“Drama is my sweet spot, but the thing about being an actor is that you want to do a variety of things. I definitely love fantasy and would want to be in a fantasy project”.


4) Behind the camera
Despite her talent as an actress Lupita began her career in movie industry as a runner. During a trip in Kenya to visit her family she was hired as Ralph Fiennes’s runner on the set of The Constant Gardener. The actress told The Daily Mail a funny fact about her meeting with Fiennes during the Telluride Film Festival this summer. She bumped into Ralph after 12 Years a slave screening and all that he could say was: “Was that you?!?”  In 2009 she also wrote, produced and directed In my genes, a documentary about the albino population in Kenya.


5) Coupling with Michael Fassbender?
Well, this is not a fact but a wish. What if Lupita Nyong’o and Michael Fassbender were a real life couple? Cele|Bitchy blog have spread the rumor:McQueen knows his friend so well, and he always sets him to work opposite a woman of color. Plus, I’ve been sort of wondering if Lupita and Fassbender might have something in real life. She seriously is just his type – dark, petite and beautiful”. Fassbender’s best known girlfriends were Lenny’s daughter Zoe Kravitz, British Olympian Louise Hazel and american actress Nicole Beharie (Yes, Sleepy Hollow Abbie!). Why not Lupita?

READ: Are Lupita Nyong’o and Jared Leto dating? 
According to Page Six, rising star Lupita Nyong’o is apparently going out with Jared Leto, with evidence provided in the form of a meeting in New York and the incredible chemistry they’ve shown at countless events.


12 Years a slave opened in selected theatres on October 18 and will be released in all Us cities on November 1.

LAST UPDATE February 17, 2014

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