See Lupita Nyong'o On MTV — WAY Before She Was Famous

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Yes, now Lupita Nyong'o is everyone's darling. She may even be elbowing JLawr aside in our hearts (kidding, we have room for both). But, of course, this is a relatively new development. Back in 2008, before she hit the Yale School of Drama, she tested her already considerable skills on MTV. True, it was MTV Kenya, but nonetheless, she had a leading role on a Viacom production.

What we've got here is the first full episode of Shuga a sharp, provocative show set in Kenya's capital of Nairobi. Nyong'o plays Ayira, a waitress hustling to rise up the social ladder — and we do mean hustling. The series was part of MTV Kenya's Staying Alive Ignite! initiative, a series of shows and announcements that tried to take sex in the age of the African AIDS crisis seriously. Here, Nyong'o's character flirts with whomever she wants, whenever she wants, using her brains and beauty to create a better life for herself. The character verges on unsympathetic, which is thrilling to watch — especially since Lupita seems so likable in her real-life post-Oscar glow. Even at 25, she absolutely had the audience in the palm of her hand.

Click below for proof that this young actor has been a star waiting to be found for years.