Life as Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o knew it, is officially over.
Especially now that she has the ultimate stylish stamp of approval: a Vogue cover.
The latest cover girl recounted a story where she arrived late to the airport after the SAG Awards in January, only to have a mob of paparazzi waiting for her. “For a split second I looked behind me to see who they were flashing at—and it was me!” Nyong’o. “That was, I think, the beginning of the end of my anonymity.”
One of the first things Nyong’o embraced as a celebrity was a stylist. Her good friend, fellow actress, Michelle Dockery introduced her to stylist Micaela Erlanger. Nyong’o showed up to her first meeting with Erlanger armed with a Pinterest-board full of ideas: “Bold color, interesting print, interesting silhouettes—simple but architectural and feminine,” her stylist told Vogue. “Elegance, but with a sense of humor.”
The 31-year-old has always loved and appreciated fashion. In high school, she would make her own clothes “because it was cheaper than buying retail.” She even made her own prom dress! “It was a velvet miniskirt with a matching little top and an iridescent silver translucent fabric that flowed to the ground,” she said. “It was kind of ridiculous, but it was fabulous at the time.”
As fashion began to fully embrace her, she was told, “Brace yourself, Lupita! Keep a granola bar in that clutch of yours!” she said. “I didn’t really understand what they meant, and it was only once it past I realized that my body had been holding on by a thread to get through this very intense experience. Nothing can prepare you for awards season,” she continued. “The red carpet feels like a war zone, except you cannot fly or fight; you just have to stand there and take it. I hope they don’t make that the big quote!” she told the glossy. “Because that would be sad! Tell them not to do that!”
..and yet, she manages to handle the red carpet, much like her fashion choices and Oscar acceptance speech with a sense of grace.
“Even in my dreams of being an actor, my dream was not in the celebrity,” she said. “My dream was in the work that I wanted to do.”
Oh, and Jared Leto isn’t Nyong’o’s beau. Somali-born rapper K’naan is.
We can learn more about this beauty when the issue hits newsstands. A first peek at her spread below: