On her third cover for the fashion bible, the Oscar winner slays the October issue in a stunning embroidered floral cap sleeved gown and a head wrap. And given that her upcoming film, Queen of Katwe, was filmed in Eastern Africa, the magazine shot the glorious spread in her home country of Kenya and at her family’s home.
In this revealing and touching interview, Nyong’o opens up about a range of topics, including Black visibility in Hollywood, paving the doors for others and wanting to work with Queen of Sugar director Ava DuVernay down the road.
“There are certain cards that have been dealt me that I take on,” she says. “I want to create opportunities for other people of color because I’m fortunate enough to have a platform to do that. That is why Eclipsed and even Queen of Katwe are so important, to change the narrative, offer a news lens on African identity.”
She added, “Being able to use my platform to expand and diversify the African voice, I feel very passionate about that. It feels intentional, meaningful.”
Nyong’o also discussed the challenges of being a dark-skinned woman in Hollywood, referencing a talent agent who once said on record that after 12 Years a Slave, the Yale graduate only had “two-and-half, three years” left in the industry.
“I have to deafen my ears to that Christian lady. She is looking at me as part of the cultural tapestry. I am living and breathing. That person is not considering what I had for breakfast, how that is sitting in my stomach, and why I didn’t do well with that audition. I cannot run away from who I am and my complexion or the larger society and how they may view that,” she said.
Word. That’s defintely a message more Black women need to hear.
In addition, Nyong’o kept it real about how white beauty standards impact society, herself included.
“The European sense of beauty affects us all,” she says abruptly. “I came home from college in the early 2000s and saw ads on TV with a girl who can’t get a job. She uses this product. She gets her skin lighter. She gets the job. The lording of lighter skin is a common thing growing up in Nairobi. Being called ‘Black mamba.’ The slow burn of recognizing something else is better than you.”
Despite this being her second October Vogue cover in a row (she graced Oct. 2015 for her roles in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Ecplised), it’s clear that this issue was sentimental for her. Nyong’o posted on her Instagram page a video of her opening a box and seeing the issue for the first time. Gazing at it, she was moved to tears.
Just stunning. Congrats, Lupita!