Duke Woman Crush Wednesday: Lupita Amondi Nyong’o

by Duchess Magazine

Lupita Amondi Nyong’o was born on March 1st, 1983 in Mexico City to Peter Anyang Nyong’o, a Kenyan politician.

English, Spanish, Luo, and Swahili are all languages she can speak with ease.

Lupita Nyong’o studied in the US and graduated from Hampshire College with a bachelor’s degree in film and theater studies.

She subsequently pursued a master’s degree in acting at the Yale School of Drama.

Nyong’o started her career as a member of the production team for a number of movies.

She starred in the 2008 Brooklyn-shot short film East River, which was directed by Marc Grey. The next year, she went back to Kenya and made an appearance in the HIV/AIDS prevention-focused MTV Base Africa/UNICEF drama Shuga, which was broadcast in Kenya.

In My Genes, a documentary exposing the prejudice against Kenya’s albino community, was written, directed, and produced by her in 2009. A number of film festivals screened it, and the 2008 Five College Film Festival awarded it first place.

Additionally, Nyong’o directed the music video for Wahu’s song “The Little Things You Do,” which features Bobi Wine and was nominated for the Best Video Award at the 2009 MTV Africa Music Awards.

She was nominated for several accolades for her performance in 12 Years a Slave, including Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes, Best Actress in a Supporting Role at the BAFTAs, and Best Supporting Actress at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which she won. She was the sixth black actress to receive the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award.

She received a lot of media coverage and praise for the blue Prada dress she wore to the awards ceremony, which is regarded as one of the iconic red carpet looks in Hollywood history. As a result, she became the second African actress to receive the honor, the first actress from Kenya to do so, and the first from Mexico.

Nyong’o is the fifteenth actress to get an Oscar for a role in a film.

Nyong’o earned an Obie Award for Outstanding Performance in 2015 for her part as an anonymous teenager in Danai Gurira’s play Eclipsed.

The New York Times’ Charles Isherwood praised Nyong’o as “one of the most radiant young actors to be seen on Broadway in recent seasons” and said that she “shines with a compassion that makes us see beyond the suffering to the indomitable humanity of its characters.” Her performance was well-received by the critics.

She won a Theatre World Award for her work in Eclipsed.

She also received the Herschel Williams Prize for “acting students with outstanding ability” at Yale in the 2011–12 academic year.

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