Ever since Lupita Nyong'o won the Academy Award for her passionate performance in 12 Years a Slave, she's been a Hollywood darling with roles in major films like Star Wars and the forthcoming Black Panther, along with indies like Queen of Katwe and the upcoming Americanah adaptation.
But with fame in Hollywood, there seems to be an inevitability of facing sexual misconduct. This was no different for Nyong'o, who took to The New York Times' Op-Ed section to write about the misdeeds Harvey Weinstein allegedly took against her. With her piece, she joined dozens of other women who accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
"I felt uncomfortable in my silence, and I wanted to liberate myself from it and contribute to the discussion," said Nyong'o to The Hollywood Reporter of her lengthy exposé. "That was just what I felt I needed to do, quite viscerally. I couldn't sleep. I needed to get it out."
But outside of outing sexual misconduct in Hollywood and fighting against it with the Time's Up initiative, Nyong'o is busy with creative projects. This includes the aforementioned films and a children's book, Sulwe, on the way.
"Sulwe is a young Kenyan girl who, though her name means star [in Luo], her skin is the color of midnight," said Nyong'o. "And she's uncomfortable because she's the darkest in her family and goes about trying to change that, then she has this adventure that leads her to accept herself."
Nyong'o is also set to star in Black Panther as Nakia, one of the titular character's warriors dubbed the Dora Milaje.
According to Nyong'o, her character is a "street fighter" and "a rebel but a loyalist at the same time"
"She wants to go her own way but also wants to serve her nation," explained Nyong'o, who also shared why Black Panther means so much to her.
"We were creating an aspirational world where an African people are in charge of their own destiny," she said. "And that really appealed to me and had the little girl inside me jumping for joy. To just have African people, black people, at the center of that narrative is so exciting."
As for whether or not the young actress will reprise her role as Maz in Star Wars: Episode IX, it's still up in the air. "I don't know yet," she said. "I'll know soon."
But if you're hoping for a Winfrey-Nyong'o ticket, you're out of luck. Nyong'o's father, Peter Anyang' Nyong'o, is a prominent politician in Kenya whose views forced them to be exiled from their home country for a while. And because of that, Nyong'o has had her fill of politics.
"I don't know. I had to share my father with politics for so long," she said "I don't ever want to be president—let's just get that out of the way."
But through all the fame, she remains humble.
"I don't need to be so full of myself that I feel I am without flaw," Nyong'o said. "I can feel beautiful and imperfect at the same time. I have a healthy relationship with my aesthetic insecurities."
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