All eyes are on Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o as her newfound fame thrusts her into the global center stage. Born in Mexico as the child of prominent Kenyan politicians before later moving to the United States for college and graduate school, Nyong’o has had a truly global life thus far. Her travels have been the best education of all, bestowing upon her a rare sense of worldly wisdom and care for humanity. Her compassion and her astute perspective on the world makes her performances that much more extraordinary and poignant.
Before her role as Patsey in “12 Years A Slave,” Nyong’o starred in several other socially conscious films, one a drama about HIV/AIDS and another a documentary drawing attention to the treatment of Kenya’s albino population. Although she has not been in the public spotlight for very long, she has already managed to voice some groundbreaking thoughts regarding race, gender, beauty and charity, making it clear that she is a burgeoning beacon of the philanthropic spirit and a trailblazer for human rights advocacy.
Here are several thoughts from Nyong’o:
1. “You can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul.”
2. “As I look down on this Golden Statue, may it remind me and very little girls that no matter where you’re from your dreams are valid.”
3. “You have to allow for the impossible to be possible.”
4. “Human beings have an instinct for freedom.”
5. “Feel the validation for your beauty, but also get to the deeper business of feeling beautiful inside. There is no shade in that beauty.”
6. “I have phenomenal parents… to watch those two people do so much and mean so much to everyone but at the end of the day still have the humility to serve. I thank their example because at the end of the day I just feel it is my deeds that are more important than my fame.”
These words of wisdom from Nyong’o teach us that, above everything else, we are all equally deserving and capable of love, admiration, success and humanity. Beauty, in the sense of living a beautiful life of compassion and friendship, is something universally available and unhindered by the situations of one’s birth. May every person take Nyong’o’s message to heart, and begin to fully realize his or her amazingly valued position in the grand global community.
– Stefanie Doucette