Hollywood actress Lupita Nyong’o is the latest cover star for PorterEdit magazine’s latest issue.
The movie star has risen in the past six years to include Oscar-winning tear-jerkers, sci-fi blockbusters and now psychological horror to her résumé, reaping critical and public acclaim in the process while always showing off Africa in the best ways possible, either by her stunning outfits or hairstyles.
There’s been a whole revolution, led by AFRICAN America for sure, where we are embracing our NATURAL hair texture and returning to a past glory. Our hair is FABULOUS and we can do all sorts of things with it
Read excerpts from her interview below.
On rocking fabulous natural hair:
I don’t feel defined by my hair, and I think that’s why I like to play with it. I remember when I was a teenager in Kenya, I had relaxed hair and I decided on a whim that I was going to cut it all off and grow my hair natural. I’d been going to the same hairstylist for years – he was a Kenyan, like me, and when I went natural, he didn’t know what to do with it. He was like, ‘They don’t teach us how to style natural hair in school.’ There’s been a whole revolution, led by African America for sure, where we are embracing our natural hair texture and returning to a past glory. You look at beautiful traditional hairdos from pre-colonial and colonial times and they have been erased from so much of our contemporary expression. I remember one of the first times I really saw African hairstyles preserved and celebrated as art was through the photographic lens of Leni Riefenstahl. Now at least it seems like we are waking up to ourselves again, and are like, ‘Hey, hold on, wait a minute…’ Our hair is kind of fabulous and it’s like clay and we can do all sorts of things with it.
On her African inspired-hairstyles:
My hairstylist Vernon François is great. Though [his styles] may be fresh, they’re not original. We look at images [from the past], then apply it to who we are today. I think part of it is that when my previous hairdresser said he didn’t know what to do with my hair, I didn’t know what to do with my hair either, because I hadn’t seen [what was possible]. I was just in Benin [in West Africa] and I saw this woman with a gorgeous hairdo and I took a picture of it. I was like, ‘Okay, research.’
On being a feminist:
I come from a very sexist society [growing up in Kenya]. I did need to be conditioned for that kind of world, but it was always a step removed from my home life. My outlook from very young was that women can do whatever they want. I remember a teacher saying, ‘You can’t whistle. You’re a girl,’ and I was like, ‘Yes, I can,’ and I whistled some more. I didn’t understand what he was saying. I was a tomboy. My father raised us without any regard to our gender. I was a feminist before I knew that was a term. When I heard Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech, We Should All Be Feminists, I was like, ‘Oh, I’m a feminist. That’s what I’ve been talking about all this time.’
For more from Lupita, visit net-a-porter.com.
See more photos from the cover feature in the gallery below