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‘Mysterious and magical’: Lupita Nyong’o on the power of performance

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Story highlights

Lupita Nyong'o has become one of Hollywood's hottest "It" girls

Her performance in "12 Years A Slave" has earned her several awards and nominations

The film has been hailed as one of the best movies of the year

"I'm just happy and filled with gratitude," says Nyong'o

CNN —  

Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o has become a new critics’ darling after her breakout role in last year’s hit movie “12 Years A Slave.”

Since then, the award ceremonies and opportunities to dazzle photographers have been plentiful for Nyong’o, whose mesmerizing performance as Patsey earned her numerous accolades and recognition, including an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Though all this attention is new to Nyong’o, who was born in Mexico to Kenyan parents, the young actress seems to enjoy all the hype around her. But there is much more to her story than how she captivates the cameras on the red carpet.

CNN’s Stephanie Elam caught up with Nyong’o to speak about her journey from Kenya to Hollywood. An edited version of the interview follows.

CNN: How did you end up being born in Mexico?