She’s Hot Enough That She Can Play The Love Interest Of A White Man: Industry Execs On The Future Of Lupita Nyong’o

March 28, 2014  |  

Source: WENN

By all accounts Lupita Nyong’o was Hollywood’s “it girl” this award season. Embraced by both the fashion and the film industry with more accolades and magazine covers than one can count, one would naturally assume the Kenyan actress’s career has nowhere to go but up. But as we’ve seen time and time again with Academy Award winners, the 31-year-old’s future could just as easily go down in the blink of an eye.

Although Lupita has broken down barriers as part of Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” cast, it likely won’t be so easy for other filmmakers and casting directors to see the dark-skinned beauty outside of her role as Patsey, and the comments from industry insiders in the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter prove as much.

Asking the poignant question, what can Nyong’o really expect from Hollywood?, one studio executive responded, “I don’t think she has an audience — not yet — and there are so few roles for women of color; those roles are just not being written.”

TCA Jed Root talent agent Tracy Christian had a bit more of an optimistic outlook on Lupita’s future, though it’s clear she’s not without obstacles:

“Would Beyonce be who she is if she didn’t look like she does? Being lighter-skinned, more people can look at her image and see themselves in her. In Lupita’s case, I think she has two-and-half, three years. If she can find a franchise — a Star Wars or a Bourne Identity — a big crossover film, or if she’s cast by a significant filmmaker, then she’s golden, she’ll have carved out a unique path for herself.

“For someone who looks like her, with a distinctly black, African face, maybe she’s someone who can change the direction for darker-skin actresses, actresses who are definitely not European-looking, but it may require some forward-looking director to push for her.

“Frankly, she’s hot enough that she can play a love interest to a Caucasian leading man, and it won’t be an issue. Lupita is to film and television what Obama was to politics. She made Hollywood feel good about itself. She was a little bit of ‘we shall overcome’ — charming, young, gorgeous.”

Speaking to the curse of actors winning Academy Awards and never being seen or heard of again in a respectable light, Todd Boyd, who teaches about race and pop culture at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, said of Lupita’s Oscar win: “If it didn’t benefit Halle Berry, who would seem to have, appearance-wise, the kind of package Hollywood likes, it’s hard to imagine things are going to materialize for Lupita.”

One top talent agent is holding out hope though, providing this practical advice to the Yale graduate:

“Everyone would love to sign her. I’ve hardly been in a meeting with directors where her name hasn’t come up. Right now, she should be having meetings with Spielberg and Scorsese. What she should do is just work with great directors.”

Unfortunately, that may not be as easy as it sounds. What do you think is in store for Lupita?

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  • 1Val

    So a white man willing to have sex with a black woman makes her “hot”? Who died and made white men the litmus test for black women’s beauty and desirability? What a disgusting concept to determine black women’s beauty!!!

  • Kay Douglas

    It’s bullshit like this that creates the negativity of the dark skinned black woman!! She can and will achieve whatever God has in store for her. Listen to someone telling you how far you can go in life is limiting yourself.

    • Yansa M.Toussaint

      I agree. Only God knows what Lupita or anyone can achieve in life. I think this article is bullshiggidy too.

  • scandalous7

    Trust, its going to be hard for her. We are not used to seeing someone of her complexion being the love interest or a leading lady in any movie, black or white. Its going to e awkward. She will have to fight for these roles.

  • Tehara

    I want her to get a significant part in a big movie, where she plays a desirable & smart woman (what she seems to be in real life) and i want her to do an episode arch in a successful tv shows, where she would play a lawyer, maybe in The Good Wife, or Scandal, something that would show a different side of her.

    • Tehara

      I can name 10 white actresses who have won Oscars, and whose careers have been underwhelming since then, i think it has to do with much more than skin colors. There are white actresses who keep getting parts, yet no one knows them. Launching a succesful acting career & becoming an household name is a very rare/difficult thing to do, if Lupita makes the right choices (career wise & in her personal life) she will become a superstar.

      • noyb

        Hilary Swank won two Oscars in a five year time span! Where is she?

  • kiki j

    Yet people think colorism only exist in Hollywood in an insecure dark skinned girls head smh.


    No lie, fu ck that other self hating bleaching bit ch…

  • Moira

    I think the hype over Lupita is that she’s dark skin and rocks a Fro fade. But when Olivia Spencer wins an Oscar for a maid, Denzel wins for a crooked cop, Halle for a flawed mother/woman in Monster’s Ball, then black folks are critical. I remember Angela Bassett making a snide comment over Halle’s win for that role. Halle had to stop playing the good girl to get her Oscar. She wanted the non-pretty roles that would make people stop equating her success to just being a gorgeous face.

    I would say all women of color are viewed negatively, not just dark skin women. But sometimes, I think it’s more to do with actual talent than skin color. I hear Nia Long, Gabrielle Union, Sanaa Lathan say the same thing about not getting gigs, but they’re not really great actresses. How many times can Gabrielle play the overs*xual freak or the unders*xed control freak? Sanaa had the lead in Alien vs Predator, and Something New was a very popular movie! Nia plays the same roles and I’ve never seen her get out of the girl next door role.

  • AaliyahDeana

    I hope she will reach Hollywood super-star status, but unfortunately darker skinned women are always viewed negatively.

    • kelly

      I don’t think that is necessarily that dark skinned women are viewed negatively I think that black people don’t realize that it is not so much that white people view dark beauty as negative as they want only their beauty to be worshipped. Normal people worship their own kind of beauty. They can identify with Halle, Alisha, Vanessa. They look like them. They think Lupita is beautiful but these people dont want their sons growing up thinking that a Lupita type is their dream woman. That is why someone like her would be limited in mainstream media. They are not going to put anyone’s beauty over their mothers, sisters or daughters. That is called self preservation. In the black media, light skin is just the preference regardless of what the director and his mothers, sisters look like. That is the difference. It is up to BLACK FEMALES (dark, brown skinned women) to create these roles for themselves. Otherwise we will be having this conversation for a long time.