If you’ve had the opportunity to see 12 Years A Slave, you know that while the story centers around protagonist, Solomon Northup, by the end of the movie you’re left thinking about Pastsey. The character played so masterfully by up and coming, Mexican-born,Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o. In a recent interview with DuJour, Nyong’o shares how she auditioned for her breakout role, how people respond to her now and her thoughts on the probability that she’ll take home some big trophies this award season.
Auditioning for the role
“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.”
What she wants to do next
“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 when asked about the future. “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.
How people who’ve seen the movie respond when they see her on the street
“Lots of people come up and touch my back and want to give me a hug. At this point, it’s not too crazy. I let them hug me.”
“That’s one of the concerns when you get lauded for something—can I do it again?” she says. “One thing I learned at school was the value of failure, because once you fail you can get up and do it again.”
Her thoughts on all the Oscar talk
“I’m definitely forced to think about it, but there’s nothing to do with the thought because it’s totally out of my hands. I’m really fulfilled right now by the traction this film is getting. It was made to be seen, and that’s what’s happening—America is engaging with it and being moved and changed by it. It’s really rewarding to be a part of that. That’s more important to me than any award.”
You can read Lupita’s full interview, where she talks about her schooling and growing up in the limelight with a political father and more here.
You can check out a couple more pictures from Lupita’s cover shoot on the following pages and see all of them here.