Lupita Nyong’o Talks Being Fortunate, Fame, and Why ‘Katwe’ Doesn’t Have a White Savior

Lupita Nyong'o in a promotional image for "Queen of Katwe" (Disney)

Lupita Nyong’o in a promotional image for “Queen of Katwe” (Disney)

Lupita Nyong’o’s new film Queen of Katwe is absent of white characters, and the star knows why.

After enjoying the fame that comes with being an Oscar-wining actress, she’s opening up about the Africa-based film. She also dishes on being “ridiculously fortunate” and the perks of fame.

Speaking to Time Out London, Nyong’o explained how Katwe – filmed on location in Uganda – could tell its chess prodigy story without any white actors.

“It’s all thanks to Tendo Nagenda, who is of Ugandan descent and he’s an executive at Disney,” she said. “He saw the magic in this story, and you know Disney loves magic. It takes people like that – people in positions of power – who are unafraid of the global.

“Because the world is made up of all sorts of people. We share more than we differ. And this is an African film that demonstrates that.”

After winning an Academy Award for her role in 12 Years a Slave, Nyong’o supported the #OscarsSoWhite campaign for increasing film diversity.

Around that time, her career took off.

“I have been ridiculously fortunate,” Nyong’o said of her success. “People were very nervous about 12 Years a Slave. It speaks of a time in history that’s very difficult to face. And then it came out, and it transpired that the world was ready. Sometimes I think we underestimate where we are, and it takes visionaries to give us the things we didn’t know we needed.”

Nyong’o didn’t just discuss diversity in movies, however. She also talked about lighter topics like what she enjoys about being famous.

“I love getting ready for the red carpet,” the actress

Lupita Nyong'o (Time Out)

Lupita Nyong’o (Time Out London)

shared. “But if I didn’t have a stylist and a make-up artist and a hairstylist and all that, I would not get out of the house. It’s like performance art, that’s how I look at it. And I think: Well, if I’m going to have a Cinderella moment, why not enjoy the hell out of it?”

Though her fashion sense has been praised, Nyong’o admits she’s not the fashionista of her family.

“My mother is very stylish,” she told the magazine. “She’d paint her nails every Sunday evening, and I’d watch her painstakingly filing and grooming. So I enjoy expressing myself through clothes, but trends are something I don’t follow or study.”

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