I feel quite comfortable saying that I love me some Lupita Nyong’o.  The actress, who rose to stardom after her emotional role in 12 Years A Slave,  finds herself kicking off the new year right.  Right on the January cover of Essence magazine, that is. While Lupita has been snatching magazine covers for years now, this is the Hollywood starlet’s first one with Essence.

Lupita has stayed busy since winning the Academy Award for her role in 12 Years A Slave. This month, she’ll be starring in Star Wars: The Force Awakens while her successful off Broadway play Eclipsed, written by Danai Gurira of “The Walking Dead” is heading to Broadway early next year.

Lupita talked candidly with Essence about her role in Eclipse saying, while the role is “physically and emotionally exhausting” it was something she felt compelled to do. 

“I didn’t grow up seeing African women onstage very often, much less African women in African stories. I was in love with the world Danai created.” 

She also talked about her rise to stardom and it's effect on her own self awareness.

“After 12 Years a Slave and the quote-unquote meteoric rise, I felt like there was a moment where I was suffering from whiplash. I had talked so much about who I was that I’d forgotten who I was.”

Check out the new issue on newsstands this Friday, December 4.