Lupita Nyong’o: ‘Afro hair is kind of fabulous’

Lupita Nyong’o struggled to style her natural afro hair when she was younger.

The Black Panther star has become famous for her red carpet hair, which often includes sculptural dos, including the futuristic look she adopted for the South by South West screening of new film Us.

However, in an interview with PorterEdit, Lupita admitted she had no idea what to do with her locks after she stopped chemically straightening them. 


“I remember when I was a teenager in Kenya, I had relaxed hair and I decided on a whim that I was going to cut it all off and grow my hair natural,” she told PorterEdit. “I’d been going to the same hairstylist for years – he was a Kenyan, like me, and when I went natural, he didn’t know what to do with it. He was like, ‘They don’t teach us how to style natural hair in school.’” 

But thanks to the global growth of the natural hair movement among black and mixed race women, Lupita began to embrace the nature texture of her hair, and soon realised just how versatile it is.

“Our hair is kind of fabulous and it’s like clay and we can do all sorts of things with it,” she smiled. “My hairstylist Vernon Francois is great… We look at images (from the past), then apply it to who we are today.” 

The 36-year-old Us star admits part of the struggle was a lack of reference points. Now she snaps away when she sees a woman rocking a great hairstyle and uses it as “research” to show others what’s possible. 

“When you see it, then you know it can happen and then you can make it happen,” she continued. “For me, the red carpet and (shoots like) this are opportunities to provide another image that can be a reference for some girl somewhere with hair like me to get creative.”