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.