Lupita Nyong’o: ‘The worst thing anyone’s said to me? I like it when you’re angry’ | Life and style


Born in Mexico, Lupita Nyong’o, 36, was raised in Kenya. In 2013 she made her feature debut in Steve McQueen’s film 12 Years A Slave, a role that won her an Oscar. She starred in Black Panther, plays Maz Kanata in the Star Wars movies, and is in the forthcoming Little Monsters. This month she will publish Sulwe, a children’s book, and present a Channel 4 documentary, Warrior Women.

When were you happiest?
I thoroughly enjoyed high school in Nairobi: it was before everybody had a camera on their phone. I experimented with fashion and hairstyles that I am glad I don’t have any record of.

What is your greatest fear?
Having no impact on anybody.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Indecision.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
I hate passive aggression.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
When I was working on the horror movie Us, playing Red, a menacing character. On my first day I was in character and everyone was afraid of me. And then I went to use the rest room and someone walked in on me – that just took away all the menace.

What is your wallpaper?
The landscape of Wakanda.

What would your superpower be?
I want to be like the Lying Cat, a character in Brian K Vaughan’s Saga comic book series. This cat can tell when people are lying; whenever they do, he says, “Lying”.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A botanist.

What is the worst thing anyone’s ever said to you?
Someone said to me they like it when I’m angry. I didn’t like that.

What is top of your bucket list?
I want to visit Scotland.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Manicures.

What do you owe your parents?
A lot of money and all the love in the world. They tailor-made their parenting to each one of us. I have five siblings, and they were very good at exposing us to things that we were interested in.

What does love feel like?
Like the froth on top of a hot chocolate.

What is the worst job you’ve done?
I waited tables for one night at the turn of the century. They were being fussy about how I put the food on the plates, and I couldn’t have cared less.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
When I have a to-do list and finish it in the time I intended to.

What has been your closest brush with the law?
My friend and I borrowed a car from another friend, who was a heroin addict, and we were driving it cross country. The police were about to stop us, and we realised we hadn’t checked the car to make sure there were no drugs. We didn’t have any, thank God.

What keeps you awake at night?
Scary movies.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Don’t sweat the small stuff.



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