Kenyan-Mexican actress known for 12 Years a Slave and Black Panther
"Lupita Nyong’o is a Kenyan-Mexican actress. The daughter of Kenyan politician Peter Anyang' Nyong'o, she was born in Mexico City where her father was teaching and was raised in Kenya from the age of one. She attended college in the United States, earning a bachelor's degree in film and theater studies from Hampshire College.
Nyong'o began her career in Hollywood as a production assistant. In 2008, she made her acting debut with the short film East River and subsequently returned to Kenya to star in the television series Shuga (2009–2012). Also in 2009, she wrote, produced and directed the documentary In My Genes. She then pursued a master's degree in acting from the Yale School of Drama. Soon after her graduation, she had her first feature film role as Patsey in Steve McQueen's historical drama 12 Years a Slave (2013), for which she won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She became the first Kenyan and Mexican actress to win an Academy Award.
Nyong'o made her Broadway debut as a teenage orphan in the critically acclaimed play Eclipsed (2015), for which she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. Following a motion capture role as Maz Kanata in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, Nyong'o starred as Nakia in the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero film Black Panther (2018).
In addition to acting, Nyong'o supports historic preservation. She is vocal about preventing sexual harassment and working for animal rights. In 2014, she was named the most beautiful woman by People…
In 2014, the National Trust for Historic Preservation recruited Nyong'o in an effort to oppose development, including a new minor league baseball stadium, in the Shockoe Bottom area of Richmond, Virginia. The historic neighborhood, one of Richmond's oldest, was the site of major slave-trading before the American Civil War. On October 19, 2014, Nyong'o sent a letter to Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones, which she posted on social media sites, asking him to withdraw support for the development proposal.
In June 2015, Nyong'o returned to Kenya and announced that she will advocate globally for elephants with the international conservation organization WildAid, as well as promote women's issues, acting and the arts in Kenya. WildAid announced Nyong'o as their Global Elephant Ambassador.
Nyong'o is involved in the organization Mother Health International, which is dedicated to providing relief to women and children in Uganda by creating locally engaged birthing centers. She said she’d never thought much about birthing practices until her sister introduced her to MHI executive director Rachel Zaslow. Nyong'o felt bringing attention to such important but overlooked issues is a mandate for her as an artist. She was honored for her work at 2016 Variety's Power of Women.
In April 2016, Nyong'o launched an anti-poaching "hearts and minds" campaign with her organization Wildaid in advance of Kenya Wildlife Service's history-making ivory burn that occurred April 30. The Kenyan government burned 105 tonnes of Ivory and 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn in a demonstration of their zero tolerance approach to poachers and smugglers who were threatening the survival of elephants and rhinoceros in the wild.
In October 2017, Nyong'o wrote an op-ed for The New York Times, in which she revealed that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed her twice in 2011, while she was a student at Yale. She vowed that she would never work with Weinstein, hence her declining a role in Southpaw (2015). Nyong'o also wrote about her commitment to work with women directors or male feminist directors, who had not abused their power.
Nyong'o was on the July 2014 cover of Vogue, making her the second African woman and ninth black woman to cover the magazine. That same month she also appeared on the cover of July's issue of Elle (France). She appeared on the October 2015 issue of American Vogue, making it her second cover in a row. That month, Congressman Charles Rangel and Voza Rivers, the head of the New Heritage Theatre Group, announced the day is officially "Lupita Nyong'o Day" in Harlem, New York. The honor was announced as a surprise during an open discussion between Nyong'o and image activist Michaela Angela Davis at Mist Harlem.
Nyong'o was included in Annie Leibovitz's 2016 Vanity Fair's Hollywood Issue. Nyong'o was honored with a caricature portrait in May 2016 at Sardi's restaurant in New York City for her debut on Broadway. That July, she was chosen as one of the first celebrities, alongside with Elle Fanning, Christy Turlington Burns, and Natalie Westling to star in Tiffany & Co.'s Fall 2016 campaign styled by Grace Coddington. Nyong'o appeared on Vogue's October 2016 cover, making it her third issue. That month, she was an honoree at the 2016 Elle Women in Hollywood Awards.
In January 2017, she appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair's Hollywood Issue. She later appeared on the cover of UK's The Sunday Times Magazine for their October '17 issue. On November 2017, she appeared on the cover of Grazia UK magazine. She later expressed her disappointment with the cover on social media for altering her hair to fit European standards of what hair should look like. Photographer An Le later apologized in a statement, saying it was "an incredibly monumental mistake".
In December 2017, Nyong'o landed her fourth Vogue cover in a row for the January '18 issue, making her the first black actress to do so." (1)