Here's a safe prediction: Actress Lupita Nyong'o will be 2013's biggest emerging face. Her first-ever American film role in 12 Years a Slave, out today, is already getting Oscar buzz, and her handful of red-carpet appearances have landed her on many a "Girl to Watch" list. Between her fascinating background (she's the daughter of a Kenyan politician), great taste (lots of Miu Miu), top-tier education (the Yale School of Drama), and movie star presence (I mean, just look at her), she's probably going to be huge. Here's a tip sheet on all things Nyong'o, and get ready to see her everywhere, come awards season.
Born: 1983, in Mexico, to Kenyan parents. She was raised predominantly in Nairobi.
Parents: Her father, Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, is the former Kenyan minister for medical services and served in the Kenyan Senate. He is currently a professor of political science at the University of Nairobi.
Other Family Members: Her cousin Isis Nyong’o manages African operations of InMobi, the world’s largest independent mobile-advertising network. Forbes named her as one of Africa’s most powerful women in 2012. Another cousin, Tavia Nyong’o, is a professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Education: She majored in film at Hampshire College, and received her graduate degree in acting from the Yale School of Drama.
Principal Residence: Brooklyn, New York.
Why She Might Look Familiar: She played a lead role in MTV Base’s Shuga, a series that aired in some areas of Africa and Europe between 2009 and 2011. Filmed in Kenya, the show was commissioned by a number of AIDS-relief organizations to spread awareness and tolerance of responsible sexual relationships. Nyong’o's character was a confident, sexually active young student named Ayira.
Why She Probably Looks Familiar: Her role as Patsy, the most prominent female character in 12 Years a Slave, is already getting Oscar buzz for Best Supporting Actress. Director Steve McQueen cast her three weeks before she even graduated from drama school, and she's been on red carpets everywhere leading up to the film’s release.
Signature Style: Bold minimalism. She mostly sticks to bright solids like fuchsia, neon yellow, and cobalt blue, but occasionally mixes in an uncomplicated print like polka dots. Her stylist, Micaela Erlanger (who also works with Michelle Dockery), deserves credit for the major labels she’s been wearing, including Prada, Miu Miu, and Roland Mouret. Preferred silhouettes involve a fitted waist, but she can wear pretty much anything.
What She’s Been Talking About in Interviews: That she was plucked from obscurity to play opposite Brad Pitt! (And more, of course, which you can read about here.)BEGIN SLIDESHOW
Most Viewed Stories
Celebrities Get Angry About Airline’s Leggings Ban
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner’s New Neighbors Are Justifiably Annoyed
The Blaze Has Permanently Banned Tomi Lahren
The Virgin Ignoring Texts From London
Ali Wong Loves Kondo-ing So Much, She Named Her Daughter After It
Madame Clairevoyant: Horoscopes for the Week of March 27
What Is in Sean Spicer’s Teeth?
Huma Abedin Is Reportedly Giving Anthony Weiner Another Shot
Bobbi Brown on Why She Really Left Her Brand and Resisted Making a Contour Palette, and Her Next Moves
United Airlines Gate Agent Made Teens in Leggings Cover Up
The Cut’s Latest Fashion FeaturesCiara's Wedding Dress Was Too Big for the Chapel
To be fair, it was a 13 foot-long dress.You and Rihanna Will Both Want to Invest in Dior’s New Bag
It's got something for everyone.Polo Shirts Have Turned Their Back on Ryan Lochte
Along with his other major sponsors.Ryan Lochte Will No Longer Be Paid to Wear Tiny Bathing Suits
Speedo remains committed to transparency.Laura Brown Is the New Editor-in-Chief of InStyle
After 11 years at Harper’s Bazaar.Tyra Banks Is Going to Teach a Class on Smizing at Stanford
"If I see somebody not paying attention, I’m gonna call on them."This Floating Pier Is the Most Zen Installation Ever
Walking on water in Italy.Nation Is Appalled by Matt Lauer’s Nude Ankles During Ryan Lochte Interview
What’s the opposite of “Jeah”?8 People at the Life of Pablo Pop-up Explain Why Kanye West Is a God
"I mean, Kanye West is just Kanye West. There's not more or less you can say about Kanye West. He's just Mr. West!"A T-shirt Is Enough
Simplicity, versatility, and cool. What more could you want?
She took a perfect pencil dive off a 30-foot yacht.American Apparel Is Being Sued by Former Workers
As the company considers putting itself up for sale.A Gendered History of the Tailored Suit
From Marlon Brando to Coco Chanel.How Zendaya Developed Such Great Style at the Young Age of 19
The star's best looks from Disney to now.Proof That If You’re Chic Enough, a Little Federal Investigation Doesn’t Matter
Is this the best they could do?5,300-Year-Old Mummified Iceman Probably Would’ve Been a Street-Style Star
He had several different looks and was “pretty picky.”J.Crew Has Identified 226 Shades of Pink
Even more than there are shades of gray.Gigi and Bella Hadid Merch Is Now Somehow a Thing That Is Happening
Today in Hadidiana.Gird Your Loins for the Return of Yeezy to New York Fashion Week
The season approaches.This Indie Brand Had a Great Response to Ivanka Trump
When she bought one of their cuffs, they donated the proceeds to the Clinton campaign.