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Glamsquad Magazine December 2022

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Lupita Nyong’o: The Black African Princess of Hollywood

luckily able to find

luckily able to find jobs but they came to the US with kids and they would work 12,16-hour days almost every day, and we kids had to learn to be independent. Basically, my parents were raising me and my older sisters, and me and my older sisters were raising the younger ones. Being an immigrant, the struggles that they face are immense. The reality of a nation being displaced is that it leaves refugees finding lost family members years later. Many of Anok’s family have passed away or have been scattered around the world. “ Being a model means running a business, where essentially, I am the business. “Right now, I’m actually finding out about family members that I didn’t even know I had. Since I’ve become a public figure they were able to chase me down and send me photos of when I was a little kid when we were in Egypt. I have family in Europe, Australia and all over the world. While Anok hasn’t been to South Sudan yet she hopes to go this year or next. “I still have connection to my family of course and my mom and sister have gone back, so I’ve seen my home through photos and 32

Facebook.” New Hampshire also had its challenges and while Anok and her family were welcomed, “we were faced with a lot of racism,” she says. “As I grew up in school I was bullied for my skin color. I had to develop thick skin and I had to learn the language, be able to take care of my little siblings, then go to school. In order to fend for myself I had to develop thick skin.” Education is number one for immigrant parents and this is how Anok was raised. She was on the road to becoming a medical doctor when she was discovered to model. “I wanted to be in the medical field, to work in a hospital and get an MD degree, and I worked a lot on my merit. Education is still on my plate to do. But of course, now I can expand more with what I have now.” Getting Discovered Three years ago, she was discovered and her life hasn’t been the same since. “When I first got introduced into the fashion industry, I could have easily been a flash in the pan - and I’m sure that’s what many were expecting but right away I decided that I was going to do everything I could to become a powerhouse. Being a model means running a business, where essentially, I am the business. My likeness is what draws people in and my creative and business decisions are the forces that drive it. Wanting to work at a top level with leading industry creatives, the Italian brand Prada gave her the opportunity to do this, and it’s the foundation that allowed Anok to build her career upon. In 2018 Anok opened Prada’s autumn-winter women’s readyto-wear show in Milan. It was a monumental moment because no Black woman had done that for twenty years. Naomi Campbell had been the previous model to do so. “When it happened and I opened the show, I had no idea that I was the first Black model since 1997, since Naomi to open their show. I found out the next day. Ever since that show, I have seen other designers follow. I’ve seen a lot more Black models backstage opening and closing shows. It was a huge stride compared to the past. There are strides that we still have to make, but this is a positive one.” And then she’s gone on from there to be on the cover of American and British Vogue. “When I was shooting tests I basically told myself not to get too excited because when they shoot cover tests, it’s to see whether or not you’ll be on the cover- it’s never a guarantee. When I was on set shooting it, I was like ‘I can’t believe I might be on the cover of Vogue.’ It didn’t feel real until it came out and I saw myself on the cover, and I was in such shock. I was so proud of how far I came and my team and I celebrated that night.” 33

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