Belfast Telegraph

Lupita Nyong’o: Going bald was scary but liberating

The actress said she envied girls with ‘thicker, longer, more lush hair’.

Lupita Nyong’o felt liberated when she shaved off her hair (Ian West/PA)
Lupita Nyong’o felt liberated when she shaved off her hair (Ian West/PA)

Lupita Nyong’o has said she was teased about her looks when she was younger and used to feel “really unpretty”.

The 12 Years A Slave actress, 34, said she particularly struggled with her hair when she was growing up in Kenya, and felt liberated when she eventually shaved it all off and went bald.

She told Allure magazine: “Around 13 or 14, I had such a rough time with being teased and feeling really unpretty.”

Nyong’o explained: “I didn’t love my hair when I was a child.

“It was lighter than my skin, which made me not love it so much.

“I was really kind of envious of girls with thicker, longer, more lush hair.

“In my tween years, I started begging my mother to have my hair relaxed. She wouldn’t allow it, though her hair was relaxed.

“She felt that that was a decision I could come to when I was maybe 18.”

The actress said she “felt so much better” when she was eventually allowed to have it done.

“All the girls in my class had their hair relaxed. Very few had natural kink, so I felt a lot more acceptable,” she said.

However, Nyong’o said she tired of caring for her relaxed hair and was intrigued when her father joked that she should shave it all off.

She told the magazine: “And a few months later, I thought to myself, ‘Why don’t I?’ I went into the hair salon, and I said, ‘Let’s cut it off’.

“It was almost a dare to myself: Can I live without hair?

“He shaved it right off. It was so scary but so liberating because I went completely bald.”

“That was definitely a liberating stage. I had nothing to hide behind,” she added.

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph