Lupita Nyong’o Biography: Age, Early Life, Family, Education, Career, Awards & Nominations, Fashion Icon, Philanthropy, Controversy, Net Worth

Raised in Nairobi and today she is a global icon

By  | May 19, 2020, 12:10 PM  | Lupita Nyong'o   | Top of The

Lupita Nyong'o is an Oscar award-winning actress, model, humanitarian, speaker and a firm believer of helping disadvantaged societies throughout everything she does. The actress has shown her dominance throughout the world by dominating worldwide media with her different monthly accolades.

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In 2019 Lupita wrote a book; Sulwe – which is the story of a five-year-old Kenyan girl, who has the darkest complexion in her family, for which Lupita drew upon her own childhood experiences.

Lupita isn't only an actress but has become a majestic fashion icon who has been recognised by Vogue, Paris Fashion Week, New York Times for her modelling.

How did this black beauty rise to fame? Here's her biography.

Lupita Nyong’o Age

Lupita Nyong'o born on the 1st of March in 1983. She is 37-years-old. Her full name is Lupita Amondi Nyong'o. 

Lupita Nyong’o Family

Lupita Nyongó was born in Mexico City. Her mother Dorothy and father Peter Anyang' Nyong'o were in political exile at the time she was born due to civil unrest in Kenya. Peter's brother, Charles Nyong'o, who was Lupita's uncle, disappeared after he was thrown off a ferry in 1980.

The family was able to return to their home country in 1984 when her father was offered a job at the University of Nairobi.

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Lupita was raised in her homeland. Her father, Peter - was later appointed as part of the country's senate and he became the Governor in 2017. Her mother worked in family planning and took a leadership position with the Africa Cancer Foundation. She also runs her own communications company. 

Lupita Nyong’o Education

Lupita grew up in Nairobi where she did both her primary and secondary studies. Upon completion, her parents sent her to Mexico for seven months to be on a Spanish program. During her program, Nyong'o lived in Taxco, Guerrero, and attended at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México's Learning Center for Foreigners.

Nyong’o then attended Hampshire College in the United States where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Film and Theatre, in 2007. Lupita enrolled at Yale where she earned her Masters Degree in Acting. Her thesis, In My Gene (2009) was featured at the New York  Africa Film Festival, in 2010.

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Lupita Nyong’o Career

At the age of 14, Nyong'o made her professional acting debut as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet in a production by the Nairobi-based repertory company Phoenix Players. Lupita always looked up to actresses such as Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, who both starred in The Colour Purple and inspired her to pursue her interests in acting. 

Lupita Nyong’o started acting in 2008 when she had a role in the short film, East River. She continued her journey with acting in the U.S and had a role in Shuga in which she starred in from 2009 to 2012. Also in 2009, she wrote, produced and directed the documentary In My Genes.

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The actress starred in Marvel’s Black Panther, Starwars and many more movies. Lupita didn’t limit herself into acting. In 2013 Nyong’o appeared in her first feature film, 12 Years a Slave. Her subtly anguished portrayal of Patsey, a young slave girl who was continuously sexually assaulted by her owner received so much praise from both viewers and fans. Her role in this movie became an award-winning character and she won the Oscars and BET Awards.

In 2015 she made an appearance in the play, Eclipse which was written by Danai Gurira and she got a voice role as Rashka in The Jungle Book which was released in 2016. Her role as Nakia in Black Panther, which was released in 2018, saw her career progress to greater heights. In preparation for the role, Nyong'o learned to speak Xhosa and undertook judo, jujitsu, silat, and Filipino martial arts training.

She is a renowned commercial model who has appeared in Vogue and Paris Fashion Week. She is an author of the book, Sulwe,  that has been awarded for its affirming message on self-love. The book Sulwe is about a young girl born the darkest in her family. She wishes to turn light but in her magical request, she started loving her dark colour and through that, her success started manifesting through self-love.

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Here's a list of some of Lupita's work on-screen:


2008 - East River
2013 - 12 Years a Slave
2014 - Non-Stop
2019 - Little Monsters
2019 - Us
2019 - Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
2021 - 355 (Upcoming project)

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2009 – 2012 Shuga as Ayira (5 episodes)
2017–2018 Star Wars Forces of Destiny as Maz Kanata’voice (32 episodes) 
2018 - Star Wars Rebels Archive recording; Episode: "A World Between Worlds"
2019 - Serengeti Narrator Documentary
2020 - Americanah Ifemelu Upcoming miniseries, also the executive producer


2015 - Star Wars: The Force Awakens
2016 - The Jungle Book
2016 - Queen of Katwe
2017 - Star Wars: The Last Jedi
2018 - Black Panther

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Lupita Nyong’o Awards & Nominations

Lupita started acting at the age of 14 and she is always brilliant with all the roles she gets. As a phenomenal woman she is, Lupita has received the following awards.

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2013 -  Academy Awards for Best Actress on 12 Years A Slave 
2013 - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress
2013 - BAFTA Awards for Best Actress in Supporting Role 
2013 - Screen Actors Guild Awards for Best Supporting Actress
2015 - Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut Performance
2015 - Tony Award for Best Actress
2015 - Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance
2018 - BET Award for Best Actress
2018 - NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actress
2018 - Saturn Award for Best Actress
2019 - Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Actress
2019 - MTV Movie Awards Best Actress 
2019 - People's Choice Awards
2019 - Saturn Award for Best Actress
2019 - Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress

Lupita Nyong’o Fashion Icon

Nyong'o has become a majestic fashion icon, with red-carpet appearances and pictures in publications like InStyle and W. She also twice graced the cover of Vogue in a short period, appearing on the publication's July 2014 and October 2015 issues.

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Lupita Nyong'o Philanthropy 

As a philanthropist, Lupita spends her time focusing on the changes that are essential to be implemented in society. On the 27th of February in 2014, Lupita gave a speech at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon hosted in Beverly Hills. As a speaker, she shared her moments as a teen and how she finally embraced her skin tone after being inspired by the South Sudanese model - Alek Wek. 
Lupita has vowed to be the voice of the voiceless and she has demonstrated in 2014 when she was recruited by the National Trust for Historic Preservation with hopes to oppose development, including a new minor league baseball stadium, in the Shockoe Bottom - Richmond, Virginia. This was due to the history of the site being one of the hotspots for slave-trading before the American Civil War. On 19 October 2014, Nyong'o sent a letter to Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones asking him to withdraw the support for the development proposal. 

In 2015, Lupita announced that she will be an ambassador WildAid and globally stand and advocate for elephants with the international conservation organization. She also vowed to promote women's issues, acting and the arts in Kenya.

Lupita launched an anti-poaching campaign in 2016  with her organization Wildaid collaborating with the Kenya Wildlife Service's history-making ivory burn. The Kenyan government burned 105 tonnes of ivory and Rhino Horn to show zero-tolerance of poaching and threatening the livity of wild animals.  

Lupita Nyong’o Controversy

The National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association (NSDA) and the nonprofit group Respect-Ability took matters up with Lupita after revelations that she used the symptoms of spasmodic dysphonia as the inspiration for the strained voice of her murderous character in the film, Us

According to the RespectAbility, President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi said, she explained to what extent the character portrayed by Lupita Nyong’o wasn’t only dehumanizing but also mockery to the people suffering: “Connecting disabilities to characters who are evil further marginalises people with disabilities, who also have significant abilities and want to contribute to their communities just like anyone else.”

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Lupita didn’t take time before she issued out a public apology during her interview with the New York Times. She apologised for using the voice as a presentation of people with the condition. 

Lupita Nyong’o Net Worth

Throughout her career from the age of 14 when she first started acting professionally Lupita grew big as a brand and she is now estimated to be worth over $8 Million through her fashion range, modelling, movies and book sales of her amazing work as an author.

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As she continues to inspire women throughout the world to embrace and become the best version of themselves, Lupita continues to write down her journey and with many more adventures, she dares to change the world, one step at a time.

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