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Monday February 10, 2014 4:36 pm

Ralph Fiennes Inspired Lupita Nyong’o to Become an Actress

Lupita Nyong'o and Ralph Fiennes

Lupita Nyong'o says Ralph Fiennes' advice inspired her to become an actress.

The 30-year-old star has been catapulted into the limelight with various awards and nominations for her performance in 12 Years a Slave but admits she hadn't fully committed to a career in acting until she met Ralph while working as a production assistant on his film The Constant Gardener. "He asked me what I wanted to do with my life, and I very timidly admitted that I was interested in being an actor. He sighed and said, 'If there's something else that you want to do, do that. Only act if you feel you can't live without it.' It wasn't what I wanted to hear, but it was the thing I needed to hear," she said.

Shortly after meeting Ralph, Lupita applied to the Yale School of Drama and later landed her first feature length role in the Steve McQueen film based on Solomon Northup's memoir of the same name, and having wowed audiences and critics with her portrayal of slave girl Patsey, she's now struggling to deal with the media attention.

Speaking about a run in with the paparazzi, she told New York Magazine, "I don't know who they were waiting for, but they definitely chased me down, which is a startling, disturbing experience. I did not expect it. I went into flight mode."

Lupita will next appear alongside Liam Neeson in Non-Stop but claims she still hasn't come to terms with her success in 12 Years a Slave and new-found fame. "I haven't gotten used to being recognized. I was blissfully ignorant of the magnitude of the project I was in or what it was going to mean for the world," she added.

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