To Lupita Nyong'o, a diamond is a powerful thing. 'For me, wearing a diamond is a symbol that I acknowledge myself to be rare, and special, and I allow myself to be seen,' she says. Nyong'o, of course, is no stranger to wearing fabulous jewels for the red carpet, but she's also just been announced as the first global ambassador for De Beers, a role which will also see her champion Building Forever, 12 ambitious goals that the brand has committed to achieving by 2030, through which it will invest at least $10 million across Southern Africa. Here, she talks about her new role and the power of jewellery.
How does it feel to be the first ever De Beers Global Brand Ambassador?
It is always exciting to be the first at anything and I am very proud of this unexpected achievement! The really substantive bonus though, is working with De Beers on Building Forever, which is their sustainability framework. One focus of that is creating opportunities for women and girls in southern Africa, an effort clearly very close to my heart. De Beers was very clear that they were interested as much in what I stand for off screen as in my work on screen, and that was key for me.
How would you describe the De Beers woman?
Magnetic. There is something powerful about putting on a piece of diamond jewellery.
De Beers’ latest campaign is called 'Where It Begins.' Where did it all begin for you?
When I was five years old, my Aunty recruited me to be part of these skits she was putting together to entertain the rest of the adults in my family. I fell deeply in love with performing from a young age, but I didn’t truly admit it out loud and with confidence until I was about 24. This was a transformative moment for me, when I felt like I had arrived at my true self and I could step into the rest of my life. The beginning is often small and unimpressive, but it can lead to large and impactful outcomes.
What does diamond jewellery mean to you, and what is your relationship with it?
Jewellery is hugely symbolic and talismanic, and diamonds have a powerful energy. They can mark the most important moments in our lives, and in so doing, hold the most powerful memories.
What is your most memorable jewellery moment?
For my first Academy Awards in 2014, I received the gift of a custom-made, gold pinky ring with a frog on it, which is my family totem. Inscribed inside was the phrase, 'Frogs can fly.' It captured how I felt that evening, and it is a reminder for me to this day that I am capable of exceeding even my own expectations.
I loved my 2021 look for the Met Gala. It was inspired by the visual artist Lorna Simpson, and the combination of the couture denim look with incredible De Beers diamonds was so unexpected, it was exciting.
L_upita Nyong’o wears jewellery from De Beers Jewellers’ Enchanted Lotus collection._