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Award-winning actress and world-wide sweetheart, Lupita Nyong’o, is straight killing it on her first-ever Vogue magazine cover.

Inside the latest issue, the 12 Years A Slave actress talks about how she went from a college student to an Oscar-winning performer.

Via Vogue:

As we are serenaded by the hypnotic chant of the Gnawa musicians in the adjoining courtyard, I suggest to Lupita that she must have had a completely surreal year. “Indeed I did,” she says, laughing. “It just feels like the entertainment industry exploded into my life. People who seemed so distant all of a sudden were right in front of me and recognizing me—before I recognized them!” Her first real intimation that her life was changing—probably forever—came after the SAG Awards in January, when she arrived late one night at the airport and was mobbed by paparazzi. “For a split second I looked behind me to see who they were flashing at—and it was me!” she remembers. “That was, I think, the beginning of the end of my anonymity.”

Though, as she recalls with a laugh, she lived for three years as a student in pants and a sweatshirt, Lupita has always enjoyed fashion. Growing up in Kenya, she designed many of her own clothes “because it was cheaper than buying retail,” including her own prom dress when she graduated from the all-boys high school she attended in Nairobi—girls were accepted only in two advanced-placement classes. “It was a velvet miniskirt with a matching little top and an iridescent silver translucent fabric that flowed to the ground,” she remembers. “It was kind of ridiculous, but it was fabulous at the time.”

Nyong’o goes on to discuss fashion, becoming the face of Lancôme and much, much more. Check out her flawless cover and photo spread in the gallery on the following pages.

Photos: Mikael Jansson

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