By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act June 30, 2014 at 1:30PM
In case you've had your head in the sand, or in the clouds, Lupita Nyong'o is on the cover of the latest issue of Vogue, which includes a fabulous photo spread within its pages, taken of the much-loved actress in Morocco earlier this year. I shared one of the photos on the S&A Facebook and Twitter pages (the one above, which was my fave of the bunch).
This time, however, I come bearing a different kind of gift - a short film, starring the Oscar-winning actress, as she demonstrates her favorite pastime with her 6 best friends.
Directed by Austin Peters, the Vogue-produced mini doc features Nyong’o and 6 of her closest friends, inside New York City’s Ludlow Blunt salon, where she shows off her hair braiding skills, while voicing her appreciation for the art-form.
More from Vogue below:
“Lu’s ‘Do’s,’” they call out, referencing the Oscar-winning actress’s hidden talent for professional-level plaiting, before breaking into peels of laughter. “Four and a half stars on Yelp!” As Nyong’o sets to twisting Bantu knots, sculpting dookie braids, and meticulously sectioning hair into cornrows, her friends close their eyes and lean to her will. It’s a ritual they’ve been taking part of together for over a decade, since the Kenya-bred actress made a vow to master the skill while attending Amherst’s Hampshire College after finding herself “morbidly disappointed” with braiding salons stateside. She vowed to learn how to style her own and held hopes of turning it into a money-making “side hustle” at drama school. It turned out to be neither; holding her arms above her own head for such a long time felt like “an act of madness,” she laughingly admits, and she didn’t have the heart to charge her friends. What braiding did become was an unlikely asset for acting training—she credits the skill with keeping her awake during hours long classes at Hampshire and, later the Yale School of Drama, and for forging lasting, intimate relationships with the “genuine,” “honest,” “creative” friends who continue to “challenge me and require me to grow as a human being.”
As the song goes, that's what friends are for!
And her 6 friends featured in the short doc are: Jennifer Odera, a graduate student and childhood friend; Tashal Brown, an educator and Nyong’o’s roommate from Hampshire College; Yale classmates Miriam Hyman and Hallie Cooper-Novack, as well as Stacey Sargeant, an actress whom she met while at the university; and Nontsikelelo Mutiti, a professor and artist who is currently hosting an art show revolving around the culture of braiding at New York City’s Recess gallery.
“I’m really hoping the acting thing does work out,” Nyong’o says in the Vogue piece. “Then this can remain a hobby for those lucky few.”
We really hope the acting thing works out too. But it's good to know she has something to fall back on! #Chuckles
It's in the latest issue of Vogue, but it's also available on the magazine's website; so read Lupita Nyong’o’s July cover story here - but first watch the mini documentary below: