Lupita Nyong’o understands why people may believe she and Janelle Monáe had a romantic relationship.
The pair have been friends since they met at the Met Gala in 2014, when Nyong’o was relatively new to the entertainment scene and had just won an Oscar for her performance in “12 Years a Slave.”
“This world is still extremely new to me and unbelievable,” Nyong’o recalled in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.
“[Janelle] came up to me and just gave me the realest hug,” Nyong’o said. “I think we may have swayed to the music. She was just like, ‘I’m so proud of you, and just thank you for being you.’”
In 2018, Monáe talked about identifying as pansexual and later revealed that she is nonbinary and uses the pronouns she/her and they/them.
“She has magnetism that they were obviously picking up on,” Nyong’o told Rolling Stone about speculation the two had a past romance. “She is that enigmatic. I was not surprised. And I don’t mind being associated with her in any capacity.”
While they are just close friends (Nyong’o has been dating television host and designer Selema Masekela), Nyong’o said there’s still things she doesn’t know about Monáe.
“Just because you’re a close friend of hers doesn’t mean you get to know everything about her,” Nyong’o said. “I think that’s what makes her interesting as an artist.”
Monáe’s new album, “The Age of Pleasure,” drops June 9.