Lupita Nyong’o is a Kenyan-Mexican actress and filmmaker famous for playing Nakia in Black Panther and Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, for which she won an Oscar. She’s also a passionate advocate for animal and women’s rights and has become a true fashion icon. Check out her early life, her path to an outstanding career, and see what she’s been up to lately.
Lupita Nyong’o was born on March 1, 1983, in Mexico City to Kenyan parents. Her father, a politician, was teaching in Mexico City, and her mother was in family planning. They had left Kenya because of political unrest in 1980.
When Lupita was one year old, she and her family returned to Nairobi, Kenya, where her father later was elected to the Senate before becoming Governor. Her mother started her own communications business and became the managing director of the Africa Cancer Foundation. Lupita has five siblings.
When she was 14, she debuted as Juliet in the Kenyan adaptation of Romeo and Juliet and performed in many plays in Kenya. Upon turning 16, she went back to Mexico for several months to learn Spanish before going back to Kenya to finish high school. She earned an IB diploma from St. Mary’s School in Nairobi.
She then went to Hampshire College in Massachusetts, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in film and theater studies.
Soon after graduation, Lupita started dipping her toes in film production. While working on The Constant Gardener with Ralph Fiennes, he inspired her to become an actress.
Before doing so, she was a production assistant in a few other movies, including The Namesake and Where God Left His Shoes.
After debuting in East River and starring in Shuga, she showcased her filmmaking skills in the documentary In My Genes, which she wrote, produced, and directed.
In 2012, she graduated from the Yale School of Drama with a master’s degree. Just before graduating, she got her Oscar-winning role in 12 Years a Slave, becoming the first African, the first Mexican, and the first Kenyan to win the Academy Award.
Following her outstanding work as Patsey, Lupita starred in numerous other critically-acclaimed and box office-breaking movies, including Non-Stop, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Queen of Katwe, The Jungle Book, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Black Panther, Little Monsters, Us, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
In 2018, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She also appeared on stage in plenty of plays, the most noteworthy being Eclipsed, which soon made it to Broadway.
Lupita Nyong’o graced numerous covers of fashion magazines, including Vogue, New York, UK’s Dazed & Confused, Elle, Vogue, España, Vanity Fair, Grazia UK, and British Vogue.
She even debuted as an author in 2019, writing a children’s fiction picture book Sulwe, which became a New York Times best-seller.
In November 2019, she even gave singing a try, which was a huge success. She recorded Sulwe’s Song, which she previously wrote for her children’s book. She also showcased her lovely voice in Ciara’s Melanin.
Lupita Nyong’o Relationships: Who Has She Dated?
Lupita Nyong’o seems to be a very interesting target for dating rumors. She was rumored to be hooking up with Chiwetel Ejiofor in 2012, Michael Fassbender in 2013, Jared Leto in 2014, and finally, Michael B. Jordan (with whom she’s been friends for years) in 2018.
Her only confirmed relationship is with Somalian rapper K’Naan (2013-2014).
In the News
Apart from being a remarkable actress and filmmaker, Lupita Nyong’o is also a passionate philanthropist. She is a Global Elephant Ambassador for WildAir and a Watch Hunger Stop ambassador, a Michael Kors’ awareness and fund-raising campaign. She also collaborates with Mother Health International to help Ugandan women and children.
About a month after she appeared on the cover of British Vogue for the first time, Forbes included Lupita on its list of 50 Most Powerful Women in March 2020.
Currently, Lupita is working on several projects, including a spy-thriller 355, a drama The Woman King, a sequel to Little Monsters, a TV adaptation of Americanah, and a movie adaptation of Born in Crime, which she will both star in and produce.
Check back with The Shade Room to catch up on the latest Lupita Nyong’o news!