Lupita Nyong’o glides into the restaurant at our appointed time, the picture of cool in a blue charmeuse jumpsuit with a camel-colored rain jacket draped over her arm. If diners are aware a star is among us, they don’t betray it. After briefly casting about for a different table, then deciding the one we’ve got will do, she jumps directly, wholeheartedly, into the interview, clothes first.
“The gesture of my style is definitely my mom. I always thought she was very elegant, and she was always present with the way she put herself together without being pressured,” says Nyong’o, citing her mother’s ritual home manicure every Sunday night while the family watched television together. But she also looked up to her Aunt Amondi, her mother’s sister, whose style tacked in the opposite direction: black leather jackets, a mohawk at one point, even the motorcycle to complete the look. “I kind of oscillated between the two. I find I love the elegant, the classic, the simple, but I also like the outrageous and the quirky and the almost accidental.”
Nyong’o could almost be describing her career, except for the accidental part. The year started with the premiere of Little Monsters, a comedic Australian-American-British zombie