Lupita Nyong’o Is 2.5 Seconds Away From Cutting Off All Her Hair

Tell us if you can relate to this scenario: You get a short haircut, and you absolutely love it. But then you decide to start the grow-out phase, because everyone you see on Instagram has gorgeous long hair. Once you get a few inches of hang time, you hate it because you remember how long hair is so much work. It really is a never-ending cycle — and one Lupita Nyong’o is caught in right now. “A cut is always flirting with me every morning,” she tells Refinery29.
We caught up with Nyong'o as she was promoting her new fragrance campaign for Calvin Klein Women, a woody floral fragrance created by Raf Simons to denote the individuality of all women. She explained why she's sticking with her longer style for now, the deeper significance of her latest project, and how she built a support system of women in Hollywood. Check it out, ahead.
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Refinery29: The campaign for the fragrance features two women you admire, Katharine Hepburn and Eartha Kitt. Why did you choose them?
Nyong’o: "They were women who defined their time by defying their time. In so doing, they paved the way for the rest of us. Both of them are extremely talented, but their influence went beyond their movies. When Hepburn chose to wear pants at a time when it was illegal for women, she changed fashion; it was a symbol of female independence. Kitt was not only multi-talented, but she stood up for what she believed in when it wasn’t stylish to do so — speaking up against the [Vietnam] war and fighting for equal education."
Who do you look to for inspiration and support in Hollywood now?
"Danai Gurira is my homegirl. I knew her before either of us were a part of the Hollywood industry, and I lean on her for both professional and personal support. Someone else that I’m really close to is Janelle Monae. I marvel at her artistry; she is always reflecting on herself and the world and figuring out how to contribute in artistic ways."
Courtesy of Calvin Klein
Why do you think representation of all shades of Black women in media and Hollywood is important?
"It is important because you see yourself better. I have a niece, and I’ve been watching her, and she learns from imitation — she learns from the things that she sees happening in the world. You see yourself clearer when you see yourself in someone else. That’s why it’s important to have representation in the media. I definitely see more people that look like me in the media than I’ve ever seen before."
When you first started walking red carpets, you wore your hair in a cropped Afro. Now, you’ve got some length. What's your favorite part about the grow-out?
"I love being able to put braids in. That is something I really missed when my hair was too cropped to have them. To be able to get twists or cornrows or box braids — I love that versatility. But, I must tell you, I do not enjoy having long hair otherwise. I much prefer having it short. A cut is always flirting with me every morning."
Has anyone ever told you, “You shouldn’t wear that,” in regards to fashion or makeup? If so, what was your response?
"I get that almost every time I dress up. I have very opinionated siblings, so I definitely grew up with a whole lot of that. Sometimes I take the advice and sometimes I won’t. If I’m on the fence about something, then the opinions of those that I love will help me decide which way to go. But if I absolutely love something, then I don’t care what anyone says. I’ll wear it anyway."
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