Wed 28 Oct 2015, 08:51
The Force Awakens star and Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong'o talks to CNN's Leading Women.
Catapulted into fame for her character, Patsey, in 12 Years a Slave, Lupita Nyong'o is the first Kenyan actress to win an Academy Award and the first black ambassador for the French luxury brand Lancôme.
Less than two months away from the world premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong'o sits down with CNN’s Robyn Kriel in a new episode of Leading Women as she speaks about her career, her wish to change the narrative for young Africans and her commitment to protecting elephants.
Catch the full interview on Wednesday 28 October at 11:30 CAT and 18:30 CAT on CNN. Here are some snippets from the interview:
On being a perfectionist and the fear of failure:
“I think I pursue perfection and I delight in never achieving it but perfection is always really the goal. I know that I am not perfect and that I should not necessarily ever get to perfection but the pursuit of it is where the joy comes. A healthy fear of failure is good and it definitely keeps me on my toes knowing that things could go morbidly wrong. I don't allow myself to get paralyzed by that because I think through failure, you learn more and you grow more.”
On how her dad’s political life has influenced her:
“Because I was raised observing and absorbing orature, just public speaking and all that, I think it's definitely helped to have him as an example. He's very funny and also very at ease in front of people and I think that's something that may have rubbed off on me. Oral communication is something that's very important, especially in my ethnic group. It's the way in which history has been passed down from one generation to another. Therefore, it's something I regard very highly in which I respect and that I work towards.”
On the importance for young women to have mentors:
“I think in the world of acting, someone that has been a mentor to me is Alfre Woodard. I met her on 12 Years a Slave and she's been such a great support in just helping me figure out this public life and how to make decisions when I can about what projects to work on and stuff like that. It's really important to have someone with more experience than you who can shed light on things for you so that you don't have to learn just from experience yourself, that you can learn from other people's mistakes and choices. I have quite a few of those. I believe in referring to other people who know more than me. I never want to be too much of an expert to not seek advice.”
On being seen as a role model and how she would like that image to be portrayed:
“I think I'm been given a unique platform and I don't take it lightly and I embrace it. The fact that many people are watching me and looking up to me, I think it's important to have that, especially as Africans, we're starved of those positive images. I'm very honored to be one of those positive images on a global level because I am a child of Africa and I have gotten to where I've gotten not with any form of denial of where I'm from.”
On joining WildAid as Global Elephant Ambassador:
“Outside of acting, right now, I have just become a global ambassador for WildAid which is an elephant conservancy organization trying to popularize being ivory free and saving elephants from extinction because at the rate we're going, in about ten years, we're going to have no more elephants. It's definitely a passion of mine and I'm looking forward to the work that I'm going to do with that organization. Other than that, I like to cook and spend time with my friends and watch movies and I love to dance.”
On her biggest accomplishment:
“For me, my biggest accomplishment has been being able to wake every day, look myself in the mirror and still like myself, still know who I am, keep those who know me very well very close. I'm very proud of that.”
Remember to catch the interview on Wednesday, 28 October at 11:30 CAT and 18:30 CAT on CNN.