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Lupita Nyong'o: 'I feel like a woman now'

Published 18/04/2016

Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong'o is the person she is today because of her extended family, who have "shaped" her along the way.

Lupita Nyong'o feels she has "become a woman in waves".

The actress first came to fame in movie 12 Years a Slave and has gone on to have incredible success in Hollywood, most recently lending her voice to the character of Raksha in The Jungle Book.

Now, the 33-year-old feels that as well as coming into her own as an actor, she is also maturing in her personal life.

"I feel like a woman. I feel I’ve become a woman in waves, I lived on my own at 16; that was major coming of age. But I feel like that trip taught me how much of a woman I was not," she told Britain's Stylist magazine.

Throughout her dizzying rise to the top, Lupita has made sure she has always had her family close by. She is one of six children so has a big extended family, and credits these people for helping to shape her into the person she is today.

"My family are not just my nuclear family but my extended family (aunts, uncles, parents’ friends), I’ve been very shaped by those people, we’re very close-knit," she shared. "My understanding of the world was first and foremost through my experiences with all those people.

"My parents have friends who they’ve had since before we were born and those friends have now become my parents when I travel. I have adopted their friends and they’ve adopted me so now I wish that for myself. My mother has this group they call the ‘mom squad’ and all the women who bring me up and share news about what’s going on in my life together were a support group for her when everything (winning the Oscar) was happening."

Her role in The Jungle Book saw her take on a different kind of acting - voiceovers. But under the watchful eye of director Jon Favreau, Lupita loved every second of the process.

"It was dizzying winning an Oscar for the first feature film that I did and I was very nervous about what happened next," she admitted. "It was a challenge for me to get back to performing without it being about my body (when 12 Years a Slave was a very physical role).

"But what keeps me engaged and excited is to do the unknown, and The Jungle Book was one of those things; I’d never done voiceover before but I'd always wanted to, and with a director I trust. It was about finding newness in the kind of projects I got involved in."

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