Name: Lupita Amondi Nyong'o
Born: March 1, 1983, Mexico
Filmography: 12 Years A Slave (2013), Non-Stop (2014)
Born in Mexico where her Kenyan politician father was a visiting lecturer in political science, the family returned to Kenya where she spent most of her childhood. At 16, her parents sent her to Mexico for seven months to learn Spanish. At 19, she went to the US to read film and theatre studies and later graduated from Yale School of Drama in 2012.
Nyong'o caught the acting bug early and participated in several school plays. But what made her go into acting proper was Ralph Fiennes, who was in Kenya filming The Constant Gardener (2005), and then-undergraduate Nyong'o served as a production assistant on set.
The British actor made her realise her passion when he told her to get into acting only if she felt that she couldn't live without it. "It's not what I wanted to hear, but it's what I needed to hear," she told Arise Entertainment.
Winning numerous laurels as well as the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her poignant work in the Oscar-winning drama 12 Years A Slave has propelled Nyong'o into the big league. While her preferred genre is drama, she also couldn't resist joining Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore in Non-Stop. The action thriller, now showing in cinemas, sees her playing an air stewardess on board a hijacked plane. She told entertainment website The Film Experience: "(Non-Stop) was just what the doctor ordered. I needed to do something in a totally different genre after 12 Years A Slave and Non-Stop was so much fun."
Fashion's New Darling
From the moment she stepped onto the Golden Globes red carpet in a striking red Ralph Lauren cape gown, she became a must-watch at all subsequent events. Be it a brilliant turquoise Gucci frock at the Screen Actors Guild Awards or a shiny copper Lanvin dress at the Non-Stop premiere or the show-stopping Prada number at the recent Oscars, Nyong'o is stealing the style limelight.
Hollywood's latest It girl is also known for her trademark short hair. In an interview with Essence magazine, Nyong'o said she sported long tresses most of her life, but at 19, she had enough of it. She shaved them off and never looked back since. "It was so liberating," she said.
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