theGrio’s 100: Lupita Nyong’o; meet Hollywood’s new ‘it’ girl

Who is Lupita Nyong’o?

Lupita Nyong’o, 31, is a Mexican-born actress of Kenyan descent, who made her big-screen debut last year in Steve McQueen’s Oscar-nominated drama 12 Years a Slave.

Nyong’o is a graduate of Hampshire College with a degree in film and theater studies. She worked behind the scenes of several films including The Constant Gardener and The Namesake. Nyong’o returned to Kenya in 2008 and starred in the Kenyan hit television series Shuga.

She later enrolled in the Yale School of Drama and appeared in stage productions of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Schrew and The Winter’s Tale.

Nyong’s was cast in 12 Years a Slave immediately after graduating from Yale in 2012.

Why is she on theGrio’s 100?

Lupita Nyong’o has become one of Hollywood’s fastest rising stars with her role as Patsy in Steve McQueen’s critically acclaimed drama 12 Years a Slave.

The young actress recently spoke to theGrio about comparisons between her slavery epic and the influential miniseries Roots.

“Roots was iconic, it was watched all over the world,” said Nyong’o. “It showed us a part of American history that we would otherwise not have known. We’re not robbing it [Roots] of its place at all. But this is another story, and I don’t think there should ever be just one story about slavery, because slavery was such a multifaceted experience.”

Nyong’o won the Academy Award for best supporting actress for her harrowing portrayal as a slave in 12 Years a Slave, making her the seventh woman of color to win an Oscar. She has also won the Screen Actor’s Guild and Critic’s Choice Award for the movie.

What’s next for Nyong’o?

This year Nyong’o has established herself as fashion’s ‘It’ girl, making waves every time she graces the red carpet. She’s been chosen as one of the faces for Miu Miu’s Spring 2014 campaign alongside fellow actresses Elizabeth Olsen and Elle Fanning.

She has a role in Liam Neeson’s new action film Non-Stop, which hit theaters February 28.

You can follow Lupita Nyong’o on Twitter @Lupita_Nyongo