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2019 Sundance Film Festival - 'Little Monsters' Premiere

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Lupita Nyong’o just revealed she gave herself the gift of silence in order to ring in her 35th birthday.

The Black Panther star is featured as the cover star for Marie Claire‘s March issue, where she goes into great detail about a recent meditative trip where she forced herself to sit in stillness and mediate, a challenge she willingly took after years of emoting due to her demanding craft. Nyong’o booked a flight to Texas the day after last year’s Oscar ceremony.

“It was the best gift because, the thing is, my job has two main parts. There’s the acting, and there’s the celebrity,” the Academy Award winner said. “And the celebrity involves a lot of giving. After talking so much, and just expend, expending, expending, to sit with myself and just listen. Our lives are so full of distractions; you go from one distraction to another.”

Nyong’o who turns 36 on March 1, said the experience forced her to grow in ways she never thought she could.

“I was constantly wanting to leave and then daring myself to take one more hour and another hour,” Nyong’o said. “And oh my God, it was crazy and beautiful, because after the 10 days, it wasn’t talking that I missed …The heart of the program is about unclutching from attachments to pleasure and aversion, the idea that we attach to things that we love and to things we dislike.”

On her flight home back to New York, Nyong’o said she listened to Kendrick Lamar’s Damn, heeding the advice of a close friend who told her to listen to an album she loved.

“Usually I listen to music and it’s backdrop,” she said. “But after that retreat, I was able to focus solely on that and for it to fill my existence in that moment. I listened to him on the flight back to New York. I loved the music, but rap sometimes comes at me too fast and I’m not really able to hear it fully. But this time, I heard every word Kendrick Lamar said. I heard the musicality. I heard instruments I’d never heard before. It was like clarity. And I was just, like, wow.”

Nyong’o is gearing up for another whirlwind round of press in anticipation of her latest role in Us, the next thriller from Oscar-winning director Jordan Peele.

The Academy Award winner definitely gave us something to think about in regards to self-care and being in the stillness of self-awareness.

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