Lupita Nyong’o Biography: Age, Education, Family, Career, Controversy, Charities

Flourishing life in entertainment.

By  | Jun 22, 2020, 01:48 PM  | Lupita Nyong'o  | Top of The

Academy Award winning Lupita Nyong’o is best known for her role in 12 Years a Slave’ and also as Nakia in ‘Black Panther’. Although she is the daughter of Kenyan Politician Peter Anyang Nyong’o, Lupita has made a name for herself in her own respect. Originally from Kenya, she now lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

This beautiful actress visited our sunny South Africa in 2018 for the Black Panther Premiere with her fellow cast members.

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Let’s have a look at the flourishing life of Lupita Nyong’o:

Lupita Nyongo Age & Family 


Nyongo’s was born in Mexico on March 1, 1983 to Kenyan parents, Dorothy Ogada Buyu and Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o, a college professor. She is 36 years old. The Nyong’o family left Kenya in 1980 for a period because of political repression and unrest; Peter’s brother, Charles Nyong’o disappeared after he was thrown off a ferry in 1980.

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Lupita is of Luo descent and identifies as Kenyan-Mexican and has dual Kenyan and Mexican citizenship. She was born on the 1st March 1983 and is 36 years old. She is the second child of 6 children. Her name is Spanish (a diminutive of Guadalupe). Her father is a former minister of Medical Services in the Kenyan government. Her family left Kenya in 1980 for a period because of political repression and unrest; Peter’s brother, Charles Nyong’o, disappeared after he was thrown off a ferry in 1980. When Lupita was born, her father was a visiting lecturer in political science at El Colegio de Mexico in Mexico City. He later became a senior politician in Kenya.

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The Nyongo family returned to native Kenya when Lupita was a year old and her father was appointed as a professor at the University of Nairobi where she grew up primarily. Lupita describes her upbringing as ‘middle class, suburban’ and she was sent to to Mexico for 7 months when she was 16 years old, so she could learn Spanish. During those 7 months, Nyong’o lived Taxco, Guerrero, and she took classes at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico’s Learning Center for Foreigners.

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Lupita Nyongo Education


Lupita attended St Mary’s School in Nairobi, where she received and IB Diploma in 2001. She attended Hamphshire College in the United States, graduating with a degree in film and theatre studies. 

Peter Nyongo, Lupita’s dad, was elected to represent Kisumu County in Kenya Senate and by 2017, he became Governor. Her mother is the managing director of the Africa Cancer Foundation and her own communications company. 

Lupita cousins; Tavia Nyong’o, a scholar and professor at New York University; Osmondi Nyong’o, a Pediatric Opthalmologist in Palo Alto, California, US; Kwane Nyongo, is one of Kenya’s leading animators and technology experts; and Isis Nyong’o, a media and technology leader who was named one of Africa’s most powerful young women by Forbes magazine.

Lupita Nyongo Career


Lupita began her career in film working as part of the production crew for several films, including Fernando Meirelles’, The Constant Gardener (2005), Mira Nair’s The Namesake (2006), and Salvatore Stabil’s, Where God Left His Shoes (2007). She cites Ralph Fiennes, the British star of The Constant Gardener, as someone who inspired her to pursue a professional acting career. 

In 2008, the short film East River, directed by Marc Grey, cast Lupita Nyongo in a starring role which they shot in Brooklyn. On her return to Kenya that same year she appeared in the Kenyan television series Shuga, an MTV Base Africa/UNICEF drama about HIV/AIDS prevention. 

In 2009, she wrote, directed, and produced the documentary In My Genes, about the discriminatory treatement of Kenya’s Albino population. The documentary played in several film festivals and it won the 1st prize at the 2009 Five College Film Festival. Nyong’o also directed the music video ‘The Little Thing You Do’ by Wahu, featuring Bobi Wine, which was nominated for the Best Video Award at the MTV Africa Awards 2009. 

Nyong’o enrolled in a Master’s degree program in acting at the Yale School of Drama where she appeared in many stage productions namely: Getrude Stein’s Doctor Fautus Lights the Lights, Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya and William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and The Winter’s Tale. While at Yale, she won the Herschel Williams Prize in the 2011-12 academic year for “acting students with outstanding ability”.


Here are some of the Highlights of Lupita Nyongo’s Career:

Films

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East River – 2008
12 Years a Slave – 2013
Non-Stop – 2014
Star Wars: The Force Awakeness – 2015
The Jungle Book – 2016 
Queen of Katwe – 2016
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – 2017
Black Panther – 2018
Little Monsters – 2019
US – 2019 
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – 2019
355 – 2021

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Television

Shuga – 2009 to 2012
Star Wars Forces of Destiny – 2017 to 2018
Star Wars Rebels – 2018

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Video Games

Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens – 2016

Awards

Glamour Award for Woman of the Year - 2014
BET Award for Best Actress for 12 Years A Slave - 2014
MTV Africa Music Award for Personality of the Year - 2014
Obie Award for Performance for Eclipsed - 2016
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for Black Panther - 2019
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress for Us - 2019

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Stage

Eclipsed – 2015
Eclipsed – 2016

Lupita Nyongo Modelling


Lupita Nyong’o was catapulted into the fashion industry’s awareness during the publicity tour for 12 Years a Slave in 2014. The actress was widely praised for her stylish turns on the red carpet. Nyong’o's status as a fashion plate was cemented when Anna Wintour selected her to appear on American Vogue’s July 2014 cover.

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Lupita seemed to know her way with the camera and was just oozing of so much beauty that had captivated a lot of people. Since then she has appeared on a number of magazine covers and landed many gig with the world's biggest beuaty brands such as Lancome.

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Lupita Nyongo Controversy


Lupita Nyong’o was highly criticized for her mention of the Robert F Kennedy Jr and the larynx disorder spasmodic dysphonia as what inspired her for the role in the horror film US.

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Nyong’o said:

“It’s a very marginal group of people who suffer from this … The thought that I would, in a way, offend them was not my intention. In my mind, I wasn’t interested in vilifying or demonising the condition… I crafted ‘Red’ with love and care. As much as it was in a genre-specific world, I really wanted to ground her in something that felt real. For all that, I say sorry to anyone that I have offended.”

Lupita Nyongo Charities


Lupita Nyong’o has been in support of a number of charities which include:

African Wildlife Foundation
American Association of Retired Persons
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
GLAAD
Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation
Save the Elephants
WildAid

This year also saw Lupita Nyong’o speak at the United Nations for World Food Day. 



Main image credit: thetimes.co.uk