Oscar award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o has for the first time opened up about being Luo, telling Vogue magazine that it made her feel uncomfortable as a teenager.
In the wide-ranging interview, which earned Lupita her second cover on the respected magazine, the actress also reveals how she was told her skin was too dark for a TV role in Kenya during auditions.
“I developed this discomfort in all things that identified me as ethnically Luo when I was a teenager,” she told Vogue.
However, she says that being told she her skin was too dark for her to act never put her off.
“No,” she said. “It didn’t ring true. I just thought, I need to find another way.”
She also says that she was forced to speak either Swahili or English since Dholuo, like most other tribal tongues, was forbidden at Kenyan schools.
“So there was a certain amount of shame attached to my mother tongue. . . .” she said.
“Lupita is Luo, a member of the Nilotic tribe that migrated south from Sudan. They are one of the darkest-skinned of the African tribes,” explains the magazine.
The 12 Years A Slave actress further spoke about growing up in Kenya, how she would climb mango trees at her grandmother’s farm in Kisumu and how she would like her children to experience such a life one day.
Asked whether she would raise her children in Kenya –and not America- Lupita said: “…I think that will all be determined when I have that moment. When I have that man.”
According to the magazine, on the subject of her love life, Lupita remains silent, but since she broke up with rapper K’naan in 2014, she hasn’t appeared to be seriously dating.