Fresh Faces

Lupita Nyong'o

Mexico-born Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o is an up-and-coming actress who made her acting debut with the short film "East River" and the Kenyan television series "Shuga" (2009). In 2009, she wrote, produced and directed the documentary "In My Genes."

Ms. Nyong'o later completed a master's degree in acting in 2012, from the Yale School of Drama. She had her first feature film role as Patsey in Steve McQueen's historical drama "12 Years a Slave" (2013) and eventually won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She is the first Kenyan actress and the first Mexican actress to win an Academy Award. In 2014, she was named "The Most Beautiful Woman" by People and "Woman of the Year" by Glamour.

A photo posted by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

She co-starred in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in 2015 as the space pirate Maz Kanata. Ms. Nyong'o said that she has chosen the role as Maz because she wanted to play a specific role where her appearance is not a thing in question and the acting was more of a different challenge than her role as Patsey in "12 Years a Slave."

A photo posted by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

She joined the cast in Jon Favreau's "The Jungle Book" (2016), a live-action/CGI hybrid movie, in the role of Rakcha, a mother wolf who adopts Mowgli. It was announced back in January 2015 that Ms. Nyong'o was in negotiations to star in Mira Nair's "The Queen of Katwe," a biopic based on the true story about the rise of a young African chess prodigy, Phiona Mutesi, whose rise to prominence in the international chess circuit was documented in a 2011 ESPN: The Magazine article by Tim Crothers. She will be playing Phiona’s mother Harriet Mutesi.

Ms. Nyong'o will reprise her role as Maz Kanata in "Star Wars Episode VIII" (2017).

A photo posted by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

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