At the age of 31 Lupita Nyong'o has managed to accomplish what many actresses can only dream of by taking home an Oscar in her debut film role.
The Kenyan star, who was born in Mexico, was crowned Best Supporting Actress for her stand-out portrayal of tortured slave Patsey in Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave.
"Thank you to the Academy for this incredible recognition," she said during her emotional acceptance speech.
"It doesn't escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else's."
She added: "This has been the joy of my life. I'm certain that the dead are standing about you and watching and they are grateful and so am I."
Although Solomon Northup's story was Nyong'o's first big-screen role, Hollywood's new "it" girl is no stranger to the creative arts.
Born to Dorothy and Peter Anyang' Nyong'o, a Kenyan politician, Nyong'o grow up acting out plays for family members for entertainment.
But it was the connection that she felt after watching Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey's performances in Steven Spielberg's Color Purple that inspired her to pursue a career in acting.
"She[ Goldberg] had hair like mine, she was dark like me," Nyong'o previously said.
She finally took to the stage at the age of 14, when she played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet in a production by Phoenix Players, a Nairobi-based repertory company. She would eventually graudate from the Yale School Of Drama.
Before landing her breakout role alongside Brad Pitt and Chiwetel Ejiofor, the stunning actress had several stage productions including On The Razzle and There Goes The Bride under her belt.
While her Oscar may have been somewhat predictable, Nyong'o was no less deserving of the honour.
Her 12 Years a Slave performance was astonishing and as she said at the end of her Oscar speech, the golden statute was proof that "no matter where you're from your dreams are valid".
Five Facts about Lupita
- She has five siblings
- The star is multilingual and is fluent in Spanish, English, Swahili, and her native Luo
- Although she made nearly every "best dressed" list in 2013, she actually hates shopping
- Lupita wrote, produced and directed the award-winning documentary In My Genes
- She made the low cut her signature look when she cut of her shoulder-length locks at the age of 19