Lupita Nyong’o's NY Magazine editorial: stunning, lovely or too Photoshopped?


GAH. Lupita Nyong’o has a wonderful editorial and interview in NY Magazine’s The Cut. I’m including much of the editorial here – some of these shots made me lose my breath. My God. HER FACE. She’s like a piece of art. As for the interview… it’s mostly about fashion and how she came out of nowhere and now she’s a Fashion It Girl. I would argue that she’s just a flat-out It Girl, and fashion is only part of it. So, I enjoyed the piece but it’s mostly superficial. You can read it here and here are some highlights:

How she looks & how she eats: [She’s] sipping verbena tea, sleek in black pants and black sweater, and sitting with legs and hands crossed politely as a driver waits outside and the lunch staff scours the pantry for gluten-free bread. “I haven’t always been gluten-free,” Nyong’o explains in a measured tone, after scanning the menu and coming up short. “I’ve done it for maybe nine months.”

She stays on message: That is to say, her ability to both land her first feature-film audition after drama school and get nominated for it is “not a badge of honor” but only a lucky break; her director is “very good at keeping us on point”; her co-stars are “incredible, all exceptional artists, and very dedicated to their craft”; while on set, “egos are checked at the door, and everyone’s about the work”; her current whirlwind life is “stressed but blessed—I mean, I couldn’t have dreamed this up”; and her goal for the future is to “just be in the moment, fight to stay in the moment.” All of which makes her a publicist’s dream and ensures that, whatever may come of the Oscars, Nyong’o is not going to screw this moment up.

Her family: When Nyong’o was less than a year old, her parents moved back to Kenya, where her father is now a senator representing Kisumu County, her mother is the managing director of the Africa Cancer Foundation, and her cousin Isis is one of Africa’s most successful women, according to Forbes (“We don’t really know what she does; she’s like the Chandler of the family”). She describes her childhood as “middle class, suburban,” but adds, “It felt very normal to me, but ‘normal’ to me might be very different from ‘normal’ to you. I don’t know what ‘normal’ is.”

She went to Hampshire College: She attended because “it’s a matter of course for Kenyans in middle-class families to study abroad,” she says she was not yet “in a position to admit I wanted to be an actor, but I knew that I wanted to be involved in that world. America was a good place to go.”

American culture shock: “I thrive on structure,” she says. “I find my freedom in structure. It was very hard to adjust to an individualistic and very liberal system. I mean, my upbringing, I would iron my clothes every night. I would plan what I wore the night before, and then I would iron it. That’s just the way my mom raised us. Then I got to Hampshire, where clothing is sometimes optional and all this kind of thing. I was mortified.”

Getting the part of Patsey: Before she even knew she had the part, her life was already starting to feel surreal: After the audition, McQueen invited her to a dinner where she met Michael Fassbender, and later they all went dancing. Nyong’o had only just gotten back to New Haven and was dragging a rug outside (“I wanted to bask in the sun and take in the last 24 hours, wrap my head around what had just happened”) when she got a call from an unlisted number. It was McQueen offering her the role. “I sat on the pavement,” she says, “immediately terrified and intimidated by the entire thing.” Six weeks later, she was back in New Orleans rehearsing scenes. “I whispered in her ear, ‘Let it rip, go for it,’ ” says ­McQueen. “Michael Fassbender came up to me after, and I remember him saying, ‘I better get my s–t together.’ ”

[From The Cut]

What this reads like is a portrait of a young woman in transition – perhaps one of the biggest transitions we’ve ever seen of a Hollywood It Girl. One year ago, no one really knew her name. And now she’s the favorite to win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar and she’s still unsure of how to handle parts of it. She still has a roommate, for goodness sake. She’s still living in her little place in Brooklyn, and she shares a stylist with Michelle Dockery. It must be so odd for her, but I think she deserves a lot of credit for how well she’s handled everything so far. She really hasn’t put a foot wrong whatsoever.



Photos courtesy of The Cut/NY Magazine.

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44 Responses to “Lupita Nyong’o's NY Magazine editorial: stunning, lovely or too Photoshopped?”

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  1. Kiddo says:

    Wow. Well done, Lupita and NY Mag.

  2. Paola says:

    ‘American culture shock: “I thrive on structure,” she says. “I find my freedom in structure. It was very hard to adjust to an individualistic and very liberal system. I mean, my upbringing, I would iron my clothes every night. I would plan what I wore the night before, and then I would iron it. That’s just the way my mom raised us. Then I got to Hampshire, where clothing is sometimes optional and all this kind of thing. I was mortified.”

    Sorry I don’t get it.
    Does she mean that she used to be a person who was raised planning everything and used to do things on a tight schedule and being in the american culture she had to get lose a bit?

    • toto says:

      My interpenetration
      I think she means, some cultures really care about how to exhibit themselves and how do they structure their presence through manners , clothing , wording etc. but in america to her was everyone can do what ever he wants. the structure she was thriving on was not even necessary where individuals exhibit themselves the way they want.

      do you remember Emma Watson comments on men wearing flip flop? I guess its the same situation .

      I love the last picture..
      I think part of lupita attractiveness is that her face has some sort of raw innocence. i don’t know how to explain it but i hope you get it.

    • Tulip Garden says:

      I love the “I find my freedom in structure” comment. It was very analytical, elegantly articulated, and self-aware. I am similar, I believe, and for me, it is about managing/preparing your life instead of responding/reacting to it if that makes sense?

    • tifzlan says:

      I’m from Malaysia, currently studying in Boston and i identify so much with what she is saying in this interview, and especially that specific question. It’s not a publicly spoken rule, but in some cultures (including mine and i suppose, hers), there is just a structure that you sort of abide by. I can’t tell you how many times i had to explain to relatives and strangers alike why i wasn’t interested in going to medical school, or law school, or becoming an engineer after i graduated high school. There was just no room for self-exploration or discovery.

      Even our education system reflected that. I would consider myself a good writer, but i once had an English teacher in high school who would consistently give me low marks for essays because i wasn’t “sticking to the answer scheme.” Coming to America was a great dream of mine, because i loved how i was free to determine my own classes and my own schedule, and i didn’t have to worry about knowing right away what i wanted to do in my life. That’s why the add/drop period is there! So i can explore my interests further and really understand what i love or hate.

      I could go on forever and ever about this, but i won’t because it’s terribly boring. What my life has taught me so far is that some people thrive under certain systems and others don’t. I went through high school despairing because i never felt like i was up to par with my other classmates, even though i tried hard. I would be made to feel so guilty about my decision to come to America to study because it was expensive (which it is) and a waste of time (absolutely not!), but i regret nothing.

      I love Lupita even more now!

  3. Zadie says:

    She’s lovely.
    But her upbringing seems upper class, not middle class. Very very upper class.
    And I don’t get how she’s a fashion it girl, her fashion isn’t all that much.

    But she is breathtakingly beautiful and an amazing actress,

  4. Jackson says:

    She’s a striking woman, but these pics are photoshopped to the nth degree. She looks like a young boy wearing makeup in that top photo. The other two are better but still do not even look like her to me. At all. I think her smile is her best feature. I’m sure everyone here is going to gush over them, but they just look too off and too shopped for my taste.

  5. GlimmerBunny says:

    I love the picture of her with the rose hat and red lips! She’s mindblowingly pretty.

  6. lunchcoma says:

    Too much photoshop, and I don’t really like the makeup choices. She can wear very bold makeup, but there’s too much going on in some of these pictures.

    That being said, she’s lovely and talented and it shines through despite the styling.

  7. BendyWindy says:

    The shadows around her nostril and upper lip look off to me. Other than that, her face is very pretty here.

  8. Palermo says:

    I think she is beautiful but that makeup is ghastly

  9. WendyNerd says:

    She looks great but….

    Did they lighten her skin? Because, seriously, not cool.

    • Jag says:

      They lightened her skin horribly. I was just comparing her look here to the other post with her at the Oscar luncheon. She has gorgeous skin, but we can’t tell because it’s all been “whited” away in these.

      She’s not Beyonce! Leave her skin tone alone, magazine editors!

  10. Lila says:

    ‘She shares a stylist with Michelle Dockery’- that explains SO much. They both have really interesting style.

    These pictures are gorgeous. Lupita is very much an It Girl right now and I mean that in all the good and bad ways. She is gorgeous, fashionable, elegant and brilliant in 12 Years A Slave. A lot of the adoration is also going to crash on her after the Oscars when all she is known for are pretty clothes and a past great role. Hopefully she will find more chances to show her talent, quickly, but it seems like backlash always comes. My only issue with her is that she comes across as very manufactured to me. Hopefully that will fade when she spends more time in the spotlight but she doesn’t have much of a personality to me at this point.

    • toto says:

      Lupita lacks personality and manufactured?
      so every lady who held her self with grace and class is manufactured?
      This is her first movie in Hollywood for god sake at least give her more years in la la land then make a reasonable judgment.

      BTW i think Lupita is beautiful but her real beauty comes from the way she handles herself. it gives her a charm and class that lift her beauty to higher level.
      she has the true confidence comes from working hard on herself along with good background.

  11. zan says:

    I would hang the picture with the blue background in my living room, so arty!

  12. FLORC says:

    She’s being put on a pedestal. Perfect clothes, hair, makeup, pr, interviews, etc…

    She is gorgeous.

  13. zyfoo says:

    devastating news. shirley temple passed away.. rip lovely lady :( ((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((

  14. ncboudicca says:

    What happened to her legs in the photo against the red backdrop? Is that a white skirt? I shouldn’t have to think so hard when I’m looking at clothes.

  15. Janet says:

    Even though they lightened her skin, she is gorgeous. I am a white woman f**king media needs to get over whitewashing people, it’s gross.

  16. aang says:

    her face looks plastic in these pic. she doen’t need all that photoshop.

  17. ashley says:

    She’s so gorgeous!!! I love the picture with the red roses. Wishing her all the best,i hope she’ll have a successful career.

  18. dizzylucy says:

    “We don’t really know what she does; she’s like the Chandler of the family” …and now I love her forever.
    I think too much photoshop, she’s so pretty, why mess with her photos? I really hope she makes it through all this intense attention OK, she seems like a lovely and talented woman.

  19. Pinchofsalt says:

    I find it shocking that her skin has been lightened so much. She is a stunning woman and her natural skin tone shouldn’t have been altered. This kind of practice only reinforces the myth that black women are more attractive when they have a fairer skin tone. I regard these photos as demeaning to black women everywhere.

  20. Allie says:

    I like her and it might not be her fault, but I’m starting to feel like she’s the new Jennifer Lawrence. She’s everywhere and everybody is raving about how perfect she is. We obsess too much on one person and then get sick of them just as easily.

  21. Megan says:

    that was a great article. very interesting. She is stunning, I don’t like the styling of the shoot but she is so striking she draws you in regardless of styling.

  22. joan says:

    Let’s take this gorgeous young woman and slather too much makeup on her and lots of gaudy sets.

    Oops, the one with the red flower on her head is too beautiful, we should take that out.

  23. Addison says:

    Loved the article. As far as the photoshop. Yes, too much. She is already awesome looking. There is no need for that. No one has skin without pores.

    If you look at her during here television appearances there is no need to mess with her face. If she should have a flaw on it it only means she is a human being. She probably is proud of any flaw she might have.

    I love her anyway. She can’t help if people photoshop. At least they cannot change her charming personality. I hope she wins the big one. Her performance was so awesome both Chiwitel and Michael said they were awed by her performance. She certainly prepared well for the role.

  24. Naddie says:

    The first pic is awful, but the other ones are stunning.

  25. Jessica says:

    I don’t like her in all that makeup. She needs to stick to a fresh-faced look, it suits her much better.