She straddles many worlds: Nyong’o was born in Mexico when her Kenyan parents were in political exile. Her family later returned to Kenya, where she spent most of her childhood. Her first name, she says, is the short version of the word “Guadalupe.” She later went to the United States, where she got her undergraduate degree from Hampshire College in Massachusetts, and later graduated from Yale School of Drama in 2012.
She has a connection to Pres. Obama: Nyong’o is a Luo, the same tribe as President Barack Obama’s father.
She’s multilingual: In addition to English and her native Luo, the actress speaks Spanish, Swahili and conversational Italian.
She’s been a star-crossed lover: Her first big acting break came when she was 14 and played Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet” at a Kenyan theater. “That was amazing … since before that I had been a village girl at a school show,” she tells Arise Entertainment 360. ”I just came to life on stage, I just loved it so much.”
She’s also a TV star: Before her big movie debut, Nyong’o was a regular on the Kenyan television series “Shuga.” The series, produced by MTV, was a hip portrayal of contemporary Kenyan youth aimed at spreading HIV awareness. It was so popular, it later aired in various African nations.
This is not her first brush with an international movie: As an undergraduate, Nyong’o worked on the production crew of “The Constant Gardener,” starring Ralph Fiennes. The movie, filmed in Kenya, became a turning point for her. Fiennes made her realize her passion when he told her to only get into acting if she feels that she can’t live without it. ”It’s not what I wanted to hear, but it’s what I needed to hear,” she says.
She’s had her signature crop for years: Before settling for her trademark short hair,Nyong’o went through the usual hustles of finding a hairstyle that works for her. “I got fed up of going to the hair salon. I just wanted less time grooming so that I could get more stuff done.” At age 19, she shaved off her hair. “It was so liberating,” she says.
I was wondering how she got a Spanish diminutive name for a first name.
I love her so much! That Pioneer Valley hair struggle doe yesssss