Born in Mexico but raised in Kenya, with a graduate degree from the Yale School of Drama, the stunning Actress, Lupita Nyong’o first got her feet wet in the Hollywood industry as a Production Assistant. Who could foreshadow that she would soon be offered one of the most talked about and hunted roles (over 1,000 actress auditioned) in the film, ’12 Years A Slave’. Portraying a enslaved, brutally/horrifically tortured, yet powerful woman named ‘Patsey’ (who was known to pick twice the production of cotton than any man), Nyong’o was casted just three weeks before graduating Yale.
One of Steve McQueen’s most heart-wrenching, soul-penetrating and critically raved directed films; ’12 Years A Slave’ is based from the 1853 autobiography of Solomon Northup (portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor); a Husband, Father, Carpenter, acclaimed Violinist and free black man in Washington D.C., kidnapped in 1841 and unbeknownst to his wife of his whereabouts, was sold into slavery then enslaved for 12 years on a Louisiana cotton plantation before his release (His freedom was reinstated by an Attorney, NY state officials and the Governor once his location was revealed, due to Northup eventually confiding in a white Carpenter from Canada who contacted Northup’s wife).
There is plenty of buzz about an oscar nomination on the horizon and after seeing Nyong’o's performance you can easily see why. Nyong’o delivers breath into the role of ‘Patsey’, instantly bringing the sense of urgency, pain and strength yet effortlessly shows the audience the contradiction of resilience for life, while wishing to escape her reality through death. From the autobiography, Solomon Northup describes ‘Patsey’ of having “an air of loftiness that neither labour nor lash could rid her of”…Lupita Nyong’o delivers just that.
Watch as Nyong’o discusses her early years in the United States, race and her supportive lead role in ’12 Years A Slave’ with Vogue.