So far, Lupita Nyong’o’s 2014 has included joining Star Wars: Episode VII, appearing on the cover of People magazine’s Most Beautiful Issue, and, of course, winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, complete with a knock-your-tear-ducts-out acceptance speech. Now for her next too-good-to-be-true move, Nyong’o’s trailblazing her way onto the cover of Vogue magazine.
Shot by Mikael Jansson, the cover shows Nyong’o smiling in a purple, black and tangerine printed Prada dress with the kind of confidence (not to mention crazy chest muscles) that made her a fashion icon. The accompanying photo shoot took place in the spice markets and upscale resorts of Marrakech, Morocco, where Nyong’o posed in edgy pieces by Proenza Schouler, Givenchy and Alexander Wang. The accompanying photo shoot is just as bold — Nyong’o even holds a staring contest with a cobra.
The Kenyan-raised star is only the ninth black woman to be on Vogue’s cover since Anna Wintour took over in 1988. She follows Naomi Campbell, Ethiopian model Liya Kebede, Oprah Winfrey, Halle Berry, Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce, Rihanna and Michelle Obama. She is only the second African woman to appear on a U.S. Vogue cover, after Kebede.
But then again, Vogue has been more surprising than ever this year. Rather than just choosing skinny blondes for its covers (though June’s Charlize Theron and January’s Cate Blanchett took care of that), Vogue’s unconventional choices have included February’s Lena Dunham cover and April’s Kim and Kanye cover. Rihanna covered the mag’s big March issue and the belovedly quirky Emma Stone was on the cover in May.
In addition to her work in a galaxy, far, far away, Nyong’o is filming the boxing drama Southpaw with Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams and voicing Mowgli’s wolf mom Raksha in Disney’s new adaptation of The Jungle Book. All that, plus she started dating Canadian-via-Somalia rapper K’Naan, she confirms in her Vogue interview. There’s no question that 2014 is Lupita’s year — and the best part is it’s only half over.