Lupita Nyong'o's First Role Was in an African Soap Opera About Safe Sex

Getty Images / Mike Marsland
On Oscar Sunday, Lupita Nyong’o officially became the awards season's most celebrated winner.
Lupita Nyong\'o\'s First Role Was in an African Soap Opera About Safe Sex
With her well-earned Best Supporting Actress win, it seems like her rise happened overnight.
12 Years a Slave marked Lupita’s first on-screen film role, but she had a prior credit tacked to her acting resume: the Kenyan soap “Shuga."

“Shuga” was a 2009 mini-series that followed a group of young adults working and living in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

MTV Base
Look at her slay her way through the city streets in that patterned dress. Ugh. Perfection.

Lupita played the main character, Ayira.

MTV Base
A “go getter” who’s always “dreaming big,” “loving life,” and dislikes her dad.

In the pilot episode, “Friday Nights,” we watch her juggle multiple men, a career, and her friendships.

MTV Base
Here she is chilling with her girlfriends.

And just being flawless while showing off some skin.

MTV Base
“Shuga” aired on MTV Base and dealt with the romantic lives of young people. It was commissioned by MTV Networks Africa to educate audiences about safe sex. It was a pretty racy show.

Even then, you couldn’t take your eyes off Lupita.

MTV Base
There was just something so magnetic about her. It’s really no surprise that she has come this far so quickly.

The entire series is available on YouTube. You can start with the pilot episode, “Friday Nights,” here:

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