Lupita Nyong’o And Her Bejewelled Braids Front The March Issue of Allure
‘Black Panther’ actress Lupita Nyong’o continues her press rounds this time appearing on the March issue of beauty magazine Allure. Inside the hair-themed issue, she models hair looks created by her longtime hairstylist, Vernon François. For the accompanying interview, she opens up to the magazine’s editor-in-chief Michelle Lee about her struggles with hair and Black Panther.
Nyongo’o is the second East African woman to appear on the cover of the beauty title, first one being Ugandan model Aamito who starred on the April 2017 issue alongside Dilone and Imaan Hammam.
On taking care of her hair when she moved to the US for studies
Moving to the U.S. was very difficult because I didn’t have the same kind of support system. [Braiding] services were not readily available in Amherst, Massachusetts. For a long time I would braid my hair in Kenya and then spend months with the braids in when I got to the States so that I didn’t have to worry about my hair. Also, my hair did something very different in freezing weather, which I didn’t know how to handle. My hair needs moisture. It needs warmth. All of a sudden I was in this very cold environment and my hair was bristly and dry and really hard to manage. One of the summers I went back home, I asked my aunt to teach me how to braid hair because I wanted to be able to do my own hair. I worked in her salon, and she taught me cornrowing, and twisting and plaiting.
On growing her hair
My hair is the longest it’s been in over a decade. A lot of that is because I have an amazing hairstylist in Vernon François. He’s been so helpful, helping me learn how to maintain my natural hair texture. Also giving me regimens that are streamlined because part of the challenge is all the steps. You go on YouTube, and there are just so many different ways of upkeep of one’s natural hair. It’s honey and rosemary water and avocado-paste conditioning and whatnot. I’ve tried it all. Now I love my hair. I love it because I’ve also been able to really embrace the stuff it can do. It’s like clay in the right hands. Clay can be dirt in the wrong hands, but clay can be art in the right hands. Being able to have that kind of playtime with Vernon to create different things has inspired me.
On Black Panther
When [director] Ryan [Coogler] approached me to be in it, he walked me through what he was thinking the story would be about. I remember him finishing his spiel and me being like, “And this is a Marvel movie?” And him being like, “Yeah.” And I was like, “And they said you could make this? Have they green-lighted this idea of yours?” And he was like, “Yeah, I can’t believe it.” And I was like, “Whoa, that is next level.” On set, it was just such an inspirational experience because so much thought was put into this film, and every single aspect of it was rich and beautiful and just arresting, actually. To see this aspirational African world that actually becomes an example for the whole wide world was spellbinding. We were all very much aware that we were in something extremely special.
Head to Allure for the full interview.
Photo credit: Allure