Kenyan born actress, Lupita NYong’o who is presently producing on a TV miniseries based on Chimamanda Adichie’s bestselling novel ‘Americanah,’ which
Kenyan born actress, Lupita NYong’o who is presently producing on a TV miniseries based on Chimamanda Adichie’s bestselling novel ‘Americanah,’ which she’s also set to star in, is the latest cover star for Porter magazine’s September edition. In her interview for the magazine, she takes a moment to reflect on her rise and its broader impact, on her life and the lives of those just like her. She also spoke at length about her goals of expanding beauty standards and how her success narrative can open the door for others.
Excerpt of Lupita Nyong’O’s interview below
On personally dispelling concept of the Oscar curse
After winning an Academy Award for her 12 Years a Slave performance in 2014, she became terrified by the supposed Oscars curse, when winners see their careers plummet. “I remember sitting in a pitch meeting for some comedy show. They said, ‘What if we do a skit about what’s going to happen to Lupita? And then we have you go down all the wrong roads all other Oscar winners before you have gone down.’ I said, ‘That’s my nightmare. There is nothing funny about that.’” She shakes her head, laughing quietly. “I got so many offers for slave roles,” she continues, rolling her eyes. “I didn’t want to do any of them. I did not want to be pigeon-holed.” She found the pressure of deciding what to do next intense. “There’s that thing: ‘You gotta catch your wind! This is your moment!’ It’s suddenly all about what people expect you to do.” So she retreated, and took time to listen to just herself.
“I had to reacquaint myself with the possibility of failure and be OK with it. And I had to free myself from needing to maintain an ‘A’ because it wasn’t in the pursuit of an ‘A’ that I got to that point. When I did 12 Years I was not expecting accolades, I was just trying to play Patsey to the best of my abilities. So I kept reminding myself of the thing that I needed to invest my time in – my craft.
On helping to change the beauty standards
Nyong’o became the first black woman to represent Lancôme after signing a major endorsement deal in 2014, representing a shift for the brand toward what she diplomatically described at the time as “the idea that beauty should not be dictated, but should instead be an expression of a woman’s freedom to be herself.” Her recent Calvin Klein campaign, for its new fragrance, Women, sees her pictured alongside two female icons, chosen by Nyong’o for their influence on her – Katharine Hepburn and Eartha Kitt. “By defying their times, they defined their times,” she says. “I want to emulate that.”
On her hair
“My hair is something that, historically, has been shunned,” she says. “I mean, how often do you hear, ‘You can’t get a job with hair like that’?” Asked if that’s still true, “Oh, yes,” she says. “Natural, African, kinky hair – it’s often been painted as uncivilized or wild.” On Instagram, she added to her initial post, writing, “Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfills me, as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are.”
Click here to read her full interview