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Who Is Lupita Nyong’o?

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With A Quiet Place: Day One releasing in theaters this week, let’s learn more about the leading lady herself!

Lupita Nyong’o is a Kenyan-Mexican actress and author who has garnered international acclaim for her impressive acting skills and powerful on-screen presence. She was born on March 1st, 1983, in Mexico City, Mexico, to Kenyan parents and was raised in Kenya, giving her a rich cultural background and fluency in multiple languages (English, Swahili, Spanish, and Luo). She received a degree in film and theatre studies from Hampshire College in Massachusetts and a Master of Fine Arts in acting from the Yale School of Drama, one of the most prestigious drama schools in the United States.

While in school, she also worked as a production assistant on multiple films, including The Constant Gardener (2005), where she met Ralph Fiennes (an English actor known for many films, including The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) and as Voldemort in the Harry Potter series). Nyong’o attributes much of her success to Fiennes’s advice: acting is tough, but if you really want to pursue it, you need to persevere.

Her on-screen roles began in relatively unknown shorts (Roho (2006), East River (2008), and The Roadside (2009)) and a TV series (Shuga (2009-2012)). Nyong’o’s breakout role came in 2013 when she was cast as Patsey in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. Her poignant performance made her the first Kenyan and Mexican actress to win an Oscar when she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. This role launched her into the spotlight and established her as one of Hollywood’s most talented actresses.

Following her Oscar win, Nyong’o continued to take on diverse and challenging roles. She played Maz Kanata in the Star Wars sequel trilogy (2015-2019) and Raksha in The Jungle Book (2016), showcasing her versatility as an actress who can seamlessly transition between genres. In 2018, she starred as Nakia in Marvel’s Black Panther. This groundbreaking film achieved tremendous commercial success and became a cultural phenomenon, celebrated for its predominantly African and African-American cast. Her performance added emotional depth to her character and contributed to the film’s critical acclaim. She has also performed in horror films like Us (2019), Little Monsters (2019), and A Quiet Place: Day One (2024), further proving her immense talent.

In addition to her film work, Nyong’o has ventured into theater and literature. She made her Broadway debut in the play Eclipsed, written by Danai Gurira, earning a Tony Award nomination for her role. As an author, she released a children’s book titled Sulwe in 2019. The book, which addresses themes of colorism and self-esteem, became a New York Times bestseller and further showcased Nyong’o’s talent for storytelling and her commitment to social issues.

Nyong’o also advocates for various causes, including women’s rights, racial equality, and animal conservation. She has used her platform to speak out against sexual harassment and has been a vocal supporter of campaigns such as Time’s Up and Black Lives Matter. Her activism and philanthropic efforts highlight her dedication to making a positive impact beyond the entertainment industry.

Lupita Nyong’o is not only a gifted actress with a string of remarkable performances under her belt but also a multifaceted individual who has made significant contributions to literature, theater, and activism. Her career continues to inspire and pave the way for future generations of actors, authors, and other artists from diverse backgrounds.