Lupita Nyong'o

© aphrodite-in-nyc
Wikimedia / CC BY 2.0 ]
Profession Film Director, Actor
Parents Peter Anyang' Nyong'o, Dorothy Nyong'o
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Lupita Nyong'o (born 1983) is a Kenyan actress and filmmaker. She made her American film debut in Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave (2013), as Patsey.


Nyong'o was born in Mexico City, Mexico, in 1983, to a Kenyan family, and was raised primarily in Kenya. Her parents are Dorothy and Peter Anyang' Nyong'o, a politician. Peter was the former Kenyan Minister for Medical Services and was elected in 2013 to represent Kisumu County in the Kenyan Senate. Her cousin Isis Nyong'o was named one of Africa's most powerful women by Forbes magazine in 2012.


Nyong'o attended university in the United States. After graduating from Hampshire College with a degree in film and theatre studies, she worked on the production crew of many films, including Fernando Meirelles's The Constant Gardener, with Ralph Fiennes, and Mira Nair's The Namesake. She starred in the 2008 short film East River, directed by Marc Grey and shot in Brooklyn, New York. She returned to Kenya in 2008 and starred in the Kenyan television series Shuga. In 2009, she wrote, directed, and produced the documentary In My Genes, about the treatment of Kenya's albino population, which played at several film festivals.

She subsequently enrolled in the acting program at the Yale School of Drama. At Yale she appeared in many stage productions, including Gertrude Stein's Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights,Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, and Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and The Winter’s Tale.

Nyong'o was cast in 12 Years a Slave immediately after her graduation from Yale in 2012. The film was released in 2013 to great critical acclaim. Nyong'o received rave reviews for her performance, and has been nominated for several awards including a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and two Screen Actors Guild Awards including Best Supporting Actress. She will next be featured in Liam Neeson's upcoming film Non-Stop.

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