12 Years A Slave star Lupito Nyong’o opens up on failure, fame, and the future (PHOTOS)

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Ever so often you watch an actor play a role, and you just get the feeling that they’ve just given a career making performance. That’s how most people have reacted to 30-year-old Lupita Nyong’o’s portrayal of Patsy in film 12 Years A Slave. Lupita is a true global citizen. She was born in Mexico to Kenyan parents, and  now lives in New York City.

Here are excerpts from an interview she did with DuJour

On the part

“When I learned Steve McQueen was directing and Brad Pitt was producing, I thought, Well, this is huge,” she says. “I had no expectation of getting the role at all; it was just too out there for me to think I had a chance. So I approached the audition like a rehearsal. It was my chance to have that role for 10 minutes, and I owned it. Then I got the part and the panic began.”

On dealing with fame

“When you’re a public figure, people have an ownership of you in a way,” she says. “People would interrupt our dinners all the time to have a moment with my father, and we’d understand because it was their one moment to have with him. I grew up observing that dynamic.”

On studying at Yale

“What validated my three years there was that I was able to put all of that training to work immediately and so relevantly,” she says. “I know I wouldn’t have been able to play Patsey had I not gone through three years of school. I wouldn’t have had the elasticity or the confidence to take it on. I don’t think I would have known I could do it.”

On failure

“One thing I learned at school was the value of failure, because once you fail you can get up and do it again.”

On her future and whats to come

“I would love to have a career that’s governed by the material; I always want to be part of stories that I feel are worthwhile,” she says. “And they don’t all have to be as heavy as 12 Years a Slave. I do my best work when I feel conviction to say something through the character I play. Always I want to have integrity and not compromise that.”

Read the full interview

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