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In the words of my friends, “More Lupita!”

Lupita N’yongo, is the definition of “it” girl. There isn’t a designer that hasn’t dressed her, or jumping over each other to dress her. She’s covered multiple magazines, won awards and have still managed to keep her private life under wraps.

In Lupita’s recent interview with NY Mag, the actress discusses everything from her love of structure in her life, as well as her love of sitcoms when she was a child:

She attended an all-girls school, playing many sports poorly (“Soccer, hockey, rounders, netball, touch rugby—they could do without me, to put it mildly”), watching American television (“Step by Step, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Hangin With Mr. Cooper, Full House—I watched a lot of sitcoms, as you can tell”), and acting in school plays, the first of which was Oliver Twist. “I was a passerby. I had five words: ‘Coming down the street, there.’ That was it. But I had a backstory for my character. I decided I was going to be a man, so I borrowed my brother’s suit, my dad’s briefcase. I don’t know why I decided to be a man—I think it was more interesting.” At age 14, she auditioned for Kenya’s national repertory theater, Phoenix Players, and was cast as Juliet. At Hampshire College, which she attended because “it’s a matter of course for Kenyans in middle-class families to study abroad,” she says she was not yet “in a position to admit I wanted to be an actor, but I knew that I wanted to be involved in that world. America was a good place to go.”

Nonetheless, her first months in America were a shock. “I thrive on structure,” she says. “I find my freedom in structure. It was very hard to adjust to an individualistic and very liberal system. I mean, my upbringing, I would iron my clothes every night. I would plan what I wore the night before, and then I would iron it. That’s just the way my mom raised us. Then I got to Hampshire, where clothing is sometimes optional and all this kind of thing. I was mortified.” She raises a perfectly arched brow and cuts into her sandwich with a knife and fork.

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  • omfg

    for those who don’t know, hampshire college is in western massachusetts.

    it’s very untraditional. there are no majors. you practically design your entire curriculum and you do lots of projects. it’s a really good school.

    i’m pretty familiar, though i didn’t go there.

    it’s also filled with wealthy kids who spend four years dressed in rags and don’t get much need-based financial aid.

    they must be thrilled to have lupita out there.

    having said that, i have become uncomfortable with the kind of attention lupita gets. people constantly talk about her education and background.

    a tonight show video on youtube is titled, ‘lupita comes from an accomplished family.’

    really?

    as someone who has been mistaken as an african because of how i behave and speak, i can’t help but believe her non-black americanness plays into this fascination with her.

    why don’t people go ga ga over angela bassett or sanaa lathan or hill harper or courtney vance who graduated from ivy colleges? nobody makes a big deal about the education of so many black american actors. but why are people so obsessed over her? like they’ve never encountered a black person of any stripe like this. it’s really weird to me. she doesn’t seem to mind though.

    • blogdiz

      Lupita s performance in a highly rated movie was what brought her to the fore the info about her background etc came after
      Plz remember last year it was all about Kerry Washington or was that due to her West Indian mother ?

    • Ms. Vee

      @omfg

      You raise a fair point and i think I might have the answer. The Black actors you have named all seem to be in an age bracket that the media overall doesn’t consider “fresh face” material. This is especially the case for older women who I’ve noticed lose their “it girl” status when approaching the mid 30s. The men have more time but the same applies as well. Is Lupita being African a huge factor for her shine over young black Americans? Perhaps. But I think her current appeal is the main reason.

  • SayWhat

    People don’t go gaga over the women that you mentioned because they are not considered ‘current’, and unless I’m mistaken, none of them have ever been part of such a hit (award wining, not box office sales) movie.

    People are fascinated with her in the same way that they were with Kerry Washington, remember how she was on practically every cover and how everyone was fascinated with how ‘polish’ she was/is? Now it’s Lupita’s turn.

    The only thing that saddens me is that society acts like there can only be one bw in the spotlight at a time. Now it’s Lupita’s, next season it will be another gorgeous bw, let’s not overanalyze the situation, let’s just enjoy it.

  • blogdiz

    Lupita will make the cover of every magazine in the world before any major black american magazine i.e Ebony Essence Jet etc puts her on their cover ..guess she is not American or doesn’t fit the AA concert of beauty …sad
    Hope she wins an Oscar though

  • sarah godwin

    Lupita is great. She studied filmmaking and was a director before she became an actress. We should see many more great films from her.