Woman Crush Wednesday: Lupita Nyong’o

Above: Lupita Nyong'o on the red carpet at the 2014 Academy Awards
Above: Lupita Nyong'o on the red carpet at the 2014 Academy Awards

Name: Lupita Nyong’o

Birthdate: March 1, 1983

Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico

Claim to fame: Winning the Oscar for best actress in a supporting role for her portrayal of ‘Patsey’ in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.

Where we can find her next: She has a small role as a flight attendant in Liam Neeson’s thriller Non-Stop. Also Fox searchlight has just expanded 12 Years a Slave theatrical distribution, so you can catch her Oscar winning performance if you haven’t seen it already.

Interesting fact: She was three weeks shy of graduation from the Yale School of Drama when she booked her first feature film role in 12 Years a Slave.

Best quote: “When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you are from, your dreams are valid.” – from her Oscar acceptance speech

Why we love her: There are many reasons why Lupita has swept onto the scene and stolen our hearts. If it wasn’t her subtle, gripping, and intense portrayal of Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, then it might have been her candid acceptance speech at this year’s Academy Awards. Or, it simply might be her intriguing backstory, as it’s anything but your typical Hollywood story.

Lupita was born in Mexico City, but her family relocated to its native Narobi, Kenya when she was just one. Years later, she attended college in America where she graduated with a degree in film and theatre studies from Hampshire College. Upon arriving back in Kenya after graduation, she starred in many local productions, as well as worked on the production crew of several feature films, including The Constant Gardener starring Ralph Fiennes. From there, she decided to really give her acting dreams a shot and she enrolled for a master’s degree at the Yale School of Drama. It was there where she harvested her acting chops and gained the skills that prepared her for her big break. While still three weeks shy from graduation of her master’s degree, she got the news of a lifetime: she had just beat out 1,000 other girls for the role of Patsey in the much anticipated Steve McQueen film.

This beauty might be new to the Hollywood scene, but it’s much more than a stroke of beginner’s luck that has launched her into the spotlight. She’s beautiful, clearly talented, and undoubtedly, will be mesmerizing us with many performances in the future.

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