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In less than five years since her feature film debut in 12 Years a Slave, Lupita Nyong’o has snatched an Oscar, forayed into Broadway, and starred in a slew of blockbuster hits. Now, with Black Panther setting up to be one of the biggest superhero films of all time, Lupita is gearing up to introduce audiences to her latest character Nakia, a “war dog” and spy in Marvel’s fictional African nation, Wakanda.
But before you head to the theater to see Lupita’s ass-kicking debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we sat down with the actor to ask her your most burning questions with the help of a few furry friends. Here’s what happened.
Without spoilers, what are you most excited for audiences to see in Black Panther?
Lupita: I’m excited for them to see Wakanda! This is an incredibly cool, aspirational African country. African people who are self-determining, women living in their power!
How does it feel to be a part of bringing Marvel’s first black superhero to the big screen during Black History Month?
Lupita: What a time for Black Panther to come out. It’s fly, it’s bringing people, people are gonna go see it together, hopefully, dress up when they do it! This [Black Panther] is a part of black history.
What was it like on set working with so many talented actors while filming Black Panther?
Lupita: This movie is full of incredibly talented actors. We have legends like Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett and then we have newcomers like Letitia Wright and Daniel Kaluuya — and they’re badasses! We had big meals together. We went to this African restaurant more than once and we just took it over. We enjoyed spending time together on and off set.
What was the training process like for playing such a physically-demanding character like Nakia?
Lupita: We had a six-week boot camp. We had a group session with all the Dora Milaje and then we’d break off and learn our individual skills. It was really tough on the body but also really cool because the more I exerted physically, the more I felt like I was getting into the Nakia zone of it all.
What’s your skincare routine like?
Lupita: I’m a low-maintenance kind of person. I stay hydrated and then I use a light moisturizer — Lancôme day cream — that’s known as Énergie de Vie. I try and not wear makeup when I don’t need it and then I’m very religious about taking my makeup off. [I use] avocado oil to take off my makeup because it’s gentle.
What kind of role would you like to play but haven’t been offered yet?
Lupita: I’d love to play a villain at some point…
Make sure to check out Lupita in Black Panther, hitting theaters this Friday, Feb. 16.