Lupita Nyong’o Credits Oprah, Brad Pitt, And More For Being Her Protectors Throughout Her Career

Actress Lupita Nyong'o attends as Saks Celebrates New Main Floor With Lupita Nyong'o, Carine Roitfeld And Musical Performance By Halsey on February 7, 2019 in New York City.
Anna Weber / Getty Images

Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o has had powerful forces in her corner since the beginning of her career.

The 36-year-old star rose to fame after appearing in 12 Years a Slave in 2013, which led to her Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress. The Black Panther star opened up about her close relationships with Oprah Winfrey, Sara Paulson, and Brad Pitt, and how the stars helped guide her in her career with Net-A-Porter’s weekly digital magazine PorterEdit. According to E! News, Nyong’o told the magazine she always felt welcomed in Hollywood from day one and affectionally said Paulson was “everything to me.”

The Star Wars star also said actress Alfre Woodard was a huge help to her in the early stages in her career. While she had immense support from her castmates, she said a party at Woodard’s home was the catalyst to Nyong’o’s financial knowledge in Hollywood.

“I would ask questions about my finances, where I should live, all sorts of things,” she said. “[Woodard] had this dinner that she throws during Oscars season for all the black women in Hollywood. Being invited to that basically [felt like] my TV had exploded in the room because all these actresses were there. No cameras are allowed and people just have candid conversations.”

Of her relationship with Winfrey. Nyong’o said the former talk show host “embraced” her mother and brother and even invited them to lunch at her home. Other famous security blankets for the star included Gabrielle Union, as the two attended a fashion show in France and exchanged numbers. She said the Being Mary Jane star was “open and embracing” and assured her she had friends and allies in the black Hollywood community. She also credits 12 Years a Slave director and producer Steve McQueen and Brad Pitt, respectively, for helping her, and they looked out for the actress often.

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Though her acting career only spans a short six years, Nyong’o has made a name for herself as one of Hollywood’s “it girls” and constantly takes on new roles. Her latest film, Us, is a thriller from Get Out director Jordan Peele and follows a family’s fight for survival from four masked replicas of themselves.

“I literally watched [director Jordan Peele’s] Get Out five times in one month while I was making Black Panther,” Nyong’o told PorterEdit of the film, which debuts on March 21. “I had things to do but I would make the time to go to the cinema and watch that film because I loved it so much. The topic of discussion [in Us] is not the color of [the characters’] skin. In this, a family that is black is going through something catastrophic.”