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In fall 2013, LUPITA NYONG'O (Gwen) made her feature-film debut in Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave, alongside Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Based on the best-selling book, the film tells the story of Solomon Northup (Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York who was abducted and sold into slavery. Nyong'o plays the role of Patsey, Master Epps' (Fassbender) slave who comes into contact with Solomon. Produced by Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment, Dede Gardner and New Regency, Fox Searchlight Pictures released the film in October 2013. For her performance, Nyong'o has received Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe award nominations, the New Hollywood Award at the 2013 Hollywood Film Awards and was named one of Variety's 10 Actors to Watch.

Nyong'o is also a filmmaker, having served as the creator, director, editor and producer of the award-winning feature-length documentary In My Genes. The documentary follows eight Kenyans who have one thing in common: They were born with albinism, a genetic condition that causes a lack of pigmentation. In many parts of Africa, including Kenya, the condition that marginalizes, stigmatizes and even endangers those who have it. Though highly visible in a society that is predominantly dark-skinned, the reality of living with albinism is invisible to most. Through her intimate portraits, Nyong'o enables us to see albinos' challenges, humanity and everyday triumphs.

A recent graduate of the Yale School of Drama's acting program, Nyong'o's stage credits include playing Perdita in The Winter's Tale (Yale Repertory Theatre), Sonya in Uncle Vanya and Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew, as well as performing in the original production of Michael Mitnick's Elijah.

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