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Lupita Nyong’o Becomes 2nd African Woman to Land Vogue Cover

Lupita Nyong'o Becomes 2nd African Woman to Land Vogue Cover

Scroll down for the full Vogue cover. 

A couple of weeks after the announcement that she’d optioned Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, Lupita Nyong’o has graced the cover of Vogue

Unsurprisingly (but still disappointingly), the upcoming Star Wars co-star is only the second African woman ever to be featured as a Vogue cover model, as well as the only the ninth black woman to do so, after “models Naomi Campbell and Liya Kebede, actors Halle Berry and Jennifer Hudson, singers Beyonce and Rihanna, plus Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama,” according to /bent.

In the adjoining interview, Nyong’o offers a broad if not particularly revealing sweep of her life, past and present. Here are some of the best tidbits. 

On Americanah

“‘The book blew me away,’ she tells me. ‘This was a project I wanted to work on, and I pursued it with all my being. It’s an unabashedly romantic book, really inspiring and uplifting. I found myself in her pages.'”

On making her own prom dress: 

“Though… she lived for three years as a student in pants and a sweatshirt, Lupita has always enjoyed fashion. Growing up in Kenya, she designed many of her own clothes ‘because it was cheaper than buying retail,’ including her own prom dress when she graduated from the all-boys high school she attended in Nairobi — girls were accepted only in two advanced-placement classes. ‘It was a velvet miniskirt with a matching little top and an iridescent silver translucent fabric that flowed to the ground,’ she remembers. ‘It was kind of ridiculous, but it was fabulous at the time.'”

On deliberately remaking herself as a fashion plate to strengthen her acting career: 

“In all, Lupita attended 60-some promotional events during a grueling five-month odyssey that began with the Toronto Film Festival in early September 2013…. Small wonder that The New York Times Guy Trebay noted the ‘military precision’ with which her management and stylists approached the campaign to conquer the red carpet and burn Lupita’s image into the collective consciousness — garnering her, among other things, a lucrative contract with Lancome. (As Isabella Rossellini, the international face of the brand for more than a decade, beginning in 1983, describes it, ‘Having this contract is winning the lottery’ and provided her with ‘the freedom to make only the films that I liked and not the films I didn’t.’)”

On celebrity: 

“Before she embarked on her fashion marathon, ‘Everyone said, “Brace yourself, Lupita! Keep a granola bar in that clutch of yours!”‘ she confides. ‘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 through this very intense experience. Nothing can prepare you for awards season,’ she continues. ‘The red carpet feels like a war zone, except you cannot fly or fight; you just have to stand there and take it.’ She considers for a moment. ‘I hope they don’t make that the big quote!’ she says, laughing. ‘Because that would be sad! Tell them not to do that!'”

[via Vogue, The Root, /bent]

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