At only thirty years old, Lupita Nyong’o has attained degrees from Hampshire College and Yale School of Drama, and careers as an actress and film director. Her first job upon graduation, “12 Years a Slave,” brought her to the spotlight of Hollywood. Nyong’o’s accomplishments have made her an image of hope for black women. Young women can learn a lot from the way this rising star carries herself, despite being beautiful, intellectual, intelligent and talented, Nyong’o remains humble.
Last year, Lupita Nyong’o played the role of ‘Patsey’ in the film “12 Years a Slave,” in which she received high praise and several nominations. She won the Screen Actors Guild, the Critics Choice Award and the Academy Award for best supporting actress. The movie was based on the autobiography of Soloman Northup’s experiences as a freeman kidnapped into slavery.
Northup was a carpenter and musician, who provided a living for his wife and two children. Two men offer him an opportunity to pursue his music and he accepts, but instead they drug him and ship him to New Orleans to be sold into slavery. He has a decent relationship with his first master, William Ford, who gave him a violin for his appreciation. Tensions on the plantation lead to Ford reselling Northup to Edwin Epps. Solomon Northup tries to plead with Ford but his reasoning is not acknowledged.
Epps’ style of running a plantation is completely different from Ford’s. Epps believes that abusing slaves is justified by his religion. Each slave must pick at least 200 pounds of cotton daily and if they do not they will be punished. Here, Solomon meets Patsey, played by Lupita, a young slave that picks over 500 pounds of cotton daily and is favored by Epps. Patsey also experiences brutal abuse and is raped repeatedly by Epps. Epps’ wife resents Patsey and constantly humiliates her. The more Epps tries to take advantage of Patsey the worse her treatment gets, Mrs. Epps denies her of basic necessities, such as, soap.
Northup was able to endure over a decade of slavery, despite physical and emotional abuse and betrayal he encountered. This story is about his survival, as well as, the lessons he learned from people he met during his incredible journey. These people, such as Patsey, do not know what it is like to be free but are still able to offer him kindness.
Since “12 Years a Slave,” Nyong’o has appeared posing on several red carpet events and modeling in high fashion editorials, magazine covers and other magazine features. She posed for Vogue Italia’s February 2014 Issue, Glamour Magazine’s March 2014 Issue, Mui Mui and Harper Bazaar to name a few. One of my favorite looks was on the Critic Choice Awards’ Red Carpet, where she wore a white gown that crossed around the neckline that complimented her beautiful skin tone perfectly.
Lupita Nyong’o was commemorated at Essence’s 7th Annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon. She spoke eloquently about the confidence her parents instilled in her. She says her mother taught her that “you can not rely on physical beauty to sustain you.” She also mentions the support and encouragement from her family that has enabled her to be where she is today.
Sunday, “12 Years a Slave” won three academy awards: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress, presented to Lupita Nyong’o. Her reaction when he name was called was priceless, her joy and gratitude was radiant. Her speech was moving as she displayed and connected the past, present and the future. She gives thanks to her family, close friends, and Solomon and the other characters of his story for making this opportunity, which she calls the “joy of [her] life,” possible. She states, “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else. And I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance,” this statement exemplifies Lupita’s sincere humanity as she relates her present day accomplishments to her ancestors’ experiences, and the way young girls idolize her. She speaks openly about the struggle black women, particularly dark skinned, have in the film industry. She states that, “no matter where you’re from your dreams are valid.” This is remarkable because she inspires people to follow their dreams despite stereotypes, their ethnicity or their experiences. She wants young woman to know that compassion for themselves and others is what makes them beautiful, not appearances and this is evident in “12 Years a Slave,” as well as, the way Lupita carries herself.
The Lupita truly displays what it is to be an effortless beauty through her stunning looks and gentle and kind demeanor. Talented and beautiful, the Mexican-Kenyan actress has forced Hollywood to acknowledge her presence. Still, she remains humble – Nyong’o is truly a rising star.
Check out the chic Lupita as she styles and trends her way to success – in the images and video below: