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Lupita Nyong'o in Harper's Bazaar UK May 2015

Lupita Nyong'o on Stereotypes: "It Can Get Tedious to Have to Explain That I Speak English"

Lupita Nyong'o graces the cover of Harper's Bazaar UK this month, looking as flawless as usual while donning glamorous looks from Valentino and Louis Vuitton. The actress and Oscar winner also sat for an interview, in which she opened up about the risks and rewards of fame, her newfound fashion prowess, and the celebrity who inspired her during her first award season (she reportedly attended 66 events in five months!). She also touched on the responsibility she feels to speak out on her role as a prominent woman of color. Keep reading for candid, inspirational quotes from Lupita's interview for Harper's Bazaar's May issue, which is available everywhere Thursday:

  • On fame: "You know, I thought it would come to an end after the Oscars. I thought the Oscars would come and go and then all of a sudden everything would be back to normal and I'd be back in my apartment."
  • On getting through her first award season press circuit: "You know what kept me sane? Not knowing. Having never really experienced that before . . . Because this was new territory I had no normal. I had no sense of what was normal in that world. It was all new. I don't think [I would do it again]. Not to that extent."
  • On the celebrity who inspired her: "Emma Thompson, Emma Thompson, Emma Thompson, Emma Thompson. It was such a relief . . . witnessing her going through that whole [pre-Oscars publicity circuit] with an ease and a playfulness and just abandon. That is like the person I want to be. I want to be that comfortable even in this very alien environment that you get put in."
  • On being a role model and doing public speaking engagements: "I wish that I took it more lightly sometimes, because it costs a lot. Which is why I can't do those speeches every weekend, because it costs a lot to share from such a deep place, if you will. But I don't know how to speak from any other place. Kenyans are very ceremonial. There is a formality that comes with gatherings and comes from our colonial conditioning. Oratory is something that's really important to Kenyans, the way one speaks to the masses, it's an art almost."
  • On feeling responsible to speak out as a woman of color: "I don't feel like the responsibility I feel comes from any place other than my gut. I feel a responsibility to speak about certain things because I wish someone had spoken about them for me. . . . I know I'm in a unique position where lots of people all over the world are seeing me and connecting with me, and perhaps because of my demographic and how limited representation is for my demographic, I do feel not a responsibility but an impetus to speak. It's an impetus."
  • On diversity and stereotypes: "It's 2015, man. We could all use some diversity. It can get tedious to have to explain that I speak English because Kenyans speak English."

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