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Lupita Nyong’o is having the best year ever, and to prove it, she’s covering the latest issue of Vogue Magazine!

The 12 Years a Slave and Oscar-winning actress recently shot the cover of Vogue’s July 2014 Women to Watch, and dishes about her incredible year and successful acting career.

“It just feels like the entertainment industry exploded into my life,” Nyong’o says. “People who seemed so distant all of a sudden were right in front of me and recognizing me—before I recognized them!”

Nyong’o reflected on stardom, saying she first realized that her life would never be the same after the SAG Awards in January, and being mobbed by paparazzi at the airport.

“I had already gotten the nomination, which was truly, truly astounding, and enough,” she remembers. “Even in my dreams of being an actor, my dream was not in the celebrity. My dream was in the work that I wanted to do.”

“For a split second I looked behind me to see who they were flashing at—and it was me!” she recalls. “That was, I think, the beginning of the end of my anonymity,” Lupita said.

When her name was read out, she recalls it being “very confusing, very numbing.”

“I was just repeating my name in my head, so I didn’t know whether I had said my name or they had said my name! And then my little brother screamed, and time was suspended and it was just noise in my head.”

DID YOU KNOW? Beginning with a film festival last September (2013), Nyong’o made more than 60 red carpet appearances.

Long before her press tour began, Lupita recalls the experience:

“Everyone said, ‘Brace yourself, Lupita! Keep a granola bar in that clutch of yours!’ I didn’t really understand what they meant, and it was only once it was past that I realized that my body had been holding on by a thread to get through this very intense experience. Nothing can prepare you for awards season,” she reveals.

“The red carpet feels like a war zone, except you cannot fly or fight; you just have to stand there and take it.” The It Girl then laughs and tells Vogue, “I hope they don’t make that the big quote! Because that would be sad! Tell them not to do that!”

Nyong’o is already working on her role on Star Wars: Episode VII, along with a few other projects in the pipeline.

“They just resonated with me. Being able to convey emotions with just a few digital sounds—it speaks of good storytelling,” she says. Starring in the next installment is a dream come true. 

It’s a wonderful opportunity to be working in these fantastical realms,” she says of director J.J. Abrams’ upcoming movie. “They’re worlds away from 12 Years a Slave, that’s for sure—but that kind of diversity is what dreams are made of.”

Check out her Vogue cover below:

Image credit: Vogue Magazine

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