‘The red carpet feels like a war zone’: Lupita Nyong’o opens up about her rise to fame as she stars on her very first Vogue cover
DailyMail: In just over a year, Lupita Nyong’o has gone from a theater student at Yale to an Oscar-winning actress – a swift rise to fame that the 31-year-old describes and an “intense experience”.
Starring in her first Vogue cover, the Kenyan actress – who was born in Mexico – opens up to the magazine about losing her anonymity and what it really takes to navigate the “war zone” that is the red carpet. However, with a keen sense for journalism, the 12 Years a Slave star was quick to add, laughing: “I hope they don’t make that the big quote!”
It was after a run-in with paparazzi on her way home from the SAG Awards in January that she realized her life as an unknown actress had come to end. “For a split second I looked behind me to see who they were flashing at – and it was me!”, she recalled. “That was, I think, the beginning of the end of my anonymity.”
Her fashion marathon while promoting 12 Years a Slave certainly thrust her in the spotlight. With the help of her stylist, Micaela Erlanger, Lupita quickly gained fashion icon status thanks to her daring choices.
“Everyone said, “Brace yourself, Lupita! Keep a granola bar in that clutch of yours!” she admitted. “I didn’t really understand what they meant, and it was only once it was past that I realized that my body had been holding on by a thread to get to get through this very intense experience.”
“Nothing can prepare you for awards season. The red carpet feels like a war zone, except you cannot fly or fight; you just have to stand there and take it.”
Away from all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, the actress, who lives in Brooklyn with her current beau, the Somali-born rapper K’naan who achieved global recognition for adapting the lyrics of his Wavin’ Flag song to become Coke’s official 2010 FIFA World Cup anthem (and he uses the n-word in this video), says she is happiest at home.
“The safest thing is when I’m indoors in my world,” she said, adding that when she isn’t cooking “mean salads’ and “whole fish” at home, she likes to enjoy her neighborhood’s low-key restaurants and bars.
“Even in my dreams of being an actor, my dream was not in the celebrity. My dream was in the work that I wanted to do,” she said.