The Best Supporting Actress at the recent Academy Award starred on the 2009 hit MTV drama before making her feature film debut in '12 Years a Slave'.
"12 Years a Slave" may have helped Lupita Nyong'o shoot to stardom, but she made waves years before the slavery movie. In 2009, the Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actress starred on a hit MTV show in Kenya which raised awareness about AIDS, HIV and safe sex.
In the raunchy soap opera, which trailer recently landed online, Nyong'o played Ayira, a very modern woman who "navigated the waters of dating, love and sex in Africa and all of the responsibilities that come with it." The show went to become a hit and was broadcast across 40 African countries.
Nyong'o graduated from Hampshire College with a bachelor's degree in film and theatre studies and later completed a master's degree in acting from the Yale School of Drama. She made her feature film debut in Steve McQueen's historical drama "12 Years a Slave" which helped her earn an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress among numerous other awards and nominations.
She delivered an inspiring speech when accepting the Oscar trophy at the March 2 ceremony, saying, "When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you're from your dreams are valid."
She also acknowledged Solomon Northup whose memoir was adapted into the film. "It doesn't escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else's," she said, adding, "And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey [played by Nyong'o] for her guidance. And for Solomon, thank you for telling her story and your own."