How To Get Publicity Like Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita brn collage

Lupita Nyong’o is the young and newest starlet hitting red carpets everywhere and in style I might add. Since her debut role as Patsey in 12 Years A Slave, Lupita has been seen on talk shows, in newspapers and magazines around the world. So how does someone just breaking out on the scene get such extreme publicity?

There are a few variables we can look at, but in my honest and humble opinion, I wasn’t entirely moved by her performance in 12 Years A Slave. That is most likely due to the hype that has been build up. It could be that I had super high expectations based on the reviews and anything short of what critics were saying would not have been enough to fulfill those expectations. So while I believe she was good in the movie, it didn’t feel entirely great. That being said, I don’t believe one’s entire body of work can be based on one performance so the secret to her ongoing publicity must be as follows:

Do The Work

Before you can even think about getting major publicity, you have to do the work to earn it. Readers and viewers everywhere are preoccupied with their lives and so you have to do outstanding work if you want to get recognized.

If you read her Education & Career biography on Wikipedia, you’ll learn that Nyong’o worked on the production crew of many films, including Fernando Meirelles‘s The Constant Gardener, with Ralph Fiennes, and Mira Nair‘s The Namesake. She starred in the 2008 short film East River, directed by Marc Grey and shot in Brooklyn, New York. She also starred in the Kenyan television series Shuga. In 2009, she wrote, directed, and produced the documentary In My Genes, about the treatment of Kenya’s albino population, which played at several film festivals. While attending Yale’s school of Drama, she appeared in many stage productions, including Gertrude Stein‘s Doctor Faustus Lights the LightsChekhov‘sUncle Vanya, and Shakespeare‘s The Taming of the Shrew and The Winter’s Tale.

Seek Out BIG Opportunities

Nyong’o was cast in 12 Years a Slave immediately after her graduation from Yale in 2012. I think it takes a great amount of confidence and belief in one’s self to go for big opportunities, even though you don’t measure up to other candidates going for the same opportunity and you can’t let your lack of experience keep you from going for the opportunities and life you strongly desire, nor should you let rejection hold you down or set you back.

Get Recognized

Instead of sitting back and waiting for someone to recognize you, stand up and be recognized. Promote yourself to the right people and watch your clout and influence grow. In 2008 and 2013 Nyongo’o was entered into 37 different award categories each year. My philosophy is that even if she didn’t win any, all those board members and decision makers for those awards read about her and must have mentioned her name to at least one or two other people, thus creating a buzz of some sort and buzz is great for building influence.

So no matter what field you are in or want to get into and if you want to earn major publicity, it starts with paying your dues, putting your time in, getting on the grind, hustling or whatever you call it. I always tell people that the overnight success is few and far between and it’s not the kind of plan you want to bank on. Also, don’t let your fears and doubts get the best of you. At some point, you must realize that you have what it takes and you have everything you need to achieve your greatest dreams so go for those BIG opportunities and don’t let anything or anybody hold you back. Lastly, apply for all kinds of awards and recognition and promote yourself like it’s going out of style to all sizes of audiences; I don’t care if it’s to 2, 20, 200 or 2 million. You never know just how far one connection can take you.


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Since 2005, Sandra has worked with entrepreneurs around the world to start, launch, promote and grow their brands. Using signature Business Consulting and Brand Strategy programs, Sandra coaches entrepreneurs to clearly define their business and brand to effectively position them in their markets, communicate with their audience and build a trusting and loyal community.

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