Lupita Nyong’o

The Kenyan-Mexican Academy Award Winner is now also a New York Times Bestseller Author

Lupita Nyong‘o is Kenyan-Mexican and one of the most talented actors in Hollywood with over 15 awards including an Academy Award.

Lupita Nyong’o is a Kenyan-Mexican actress bun in 1983 to Dorothy Ogada and Kenyan politician Peter Anyang. She was born in Mexico City where her father was teaching at the time and they returned to Kenya when she was less than 1 year old. She holds dual Kenyan and Mexican citizenship and identifies as “Kenyan-Mexican.”

Nyong‘o grew up in Nairobi to an artistic family and attended Rusinga International School in Kenya where she acted in school plays. Although American film wouldn’t meet Lupita until later in life, she was practicing her craft throughout childhood and made her professional acting debut as “Juliet” in Romeo and Juliet in a production put up by a Nairobi-based company.

"Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet" Broadway Opening Night - Arrivals And Curtain Call©GettyImages

When she was 16 Lupita’s parents had her move to Mexico for seven months to learn Spanish and she lived in Taxco, Guerrero, studying at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México’s Learning Centre for Foreigners. She returned to Nairobi for schooling where she received a diploma before moving to the United States for college, earning a bachelor‘s degree in film and theater studies from Hampshire College.

The stunning actress started working as a production assistant in Hollywood and made her acting debut in a short film called East River in 2008 before returning to Kenya to star in a television series from 2009-2012 called Shuga. The studious artist went back to school pursuing a master’s degree in acting from the Yale School of Drama. Soon after, the world would see her on-screen in the biographic period drama, 12 Years a Slave (2013). Her role cemented her place in Hollywood as one of the most talented actresses of her time and she won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

86th Annual Academy Awards - Show©GettyImages

Like many of the women on our list, Lupita is vocal about her passions like women and animal rights. She has also written a children‘s book named Sulwe which became a number-one New York Times Bestseller and in 2019 she narrated the Discovery Channel docu-series Serengeti, which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Narrator.

Her next films include Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) and The 355 (2022).

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