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For a Hollywood ingenue who cemented her place in screen history at age 30, Lupita Nyong’o is nothing if not humble. In 2013, her role in director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave earned her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, marking not one but three firsts: The first Kenyan actress to win an Oscar, the first African to win in that category, and the first Mexican citizen to do so. Now she’s off in London shooting one of the most hotly anticipated films of all time: Star Wars Episode VII. “I don’t know that I’m prepared for it,” she tells us of being picked for the JJ Abrams project. “I’m just taking it day by day and counting my blessings—and hopefully I’ll make it through with my soul intact.”
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