Actress Lupita Nyong’o thinks famous people are owned by their fans.
The 30-year-old actress is the star of the moment thanks to her turn as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, which has earned her an Oscar nomination.
She’s built up a big fan base – something which isn’t too foreign for Nyong’o as she grew up in Nairobi with a famous politician father.
“When you’re a public figure, people have an ownership of you in a way,” she told website dujour广西桑拿,.
“People would interrupt our dinners all the time to have a moment with my father, and we’d understand because it was their one moment to have with him. I grew up observing that dynamic.”
Competing against Nyong’o for the best supporting actress Oscar at the Academy Awards on March 2 are Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lawrence, Sally Hawkins and June Squibb.
The Kenyan star has a lot of backing from others in the industry, which she can’t quite get her head around.
“Actors will come up to me and they look so familiar – it’s killing me because I can’t remember,” she laughed.
“I spend all this time trying to place people, and it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s the woman from [TV show] Luther, not the woman who did my hair last week.’ Some people have watched the film, so they acknowledge me, but I know I’ve never met them. Or I think I haven’t. It’s quite bizarre.”
12 Years a Slave was the first feature film for Nyong’o, who now also stars alongside Liam Neeson in the new action movie Non-Stop.
She should be celebrating her success, but the star is already thinking towards the future.
“That’s one of the concerns when you get lauded for something – can I do it again?” she said.
“One thing I learned at school was the value of failure, because once you fail you can get up and do it again.”
12 Years a Slave tells the harrowing true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was sold into slavery in 1841.
Nyong’o is glad that his story is being told.
“I’m really fulfilled right now by the traction this film is getting. It was made to be seen, and that’s what’s happening – America is engaging with it and being moved and changed by it. It’s really rewarding to be a part of that. That’s more important to me than any award,” she said.
* 12 Years a Slave is in Australian cinemas currently.