LUPITA’S 1ST Oscar paves way to future fortune

Oscar prize puts Lupita on road to lucrative contracts

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Lupita Nyong'o accepts the Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role award for '12 Years a Slave' onstage during the Oscars at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014. AFP

Lupita Nyong’o accepts the Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role award for ’12 Years a Slave’ onstage during the Oscars at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014. Phoro by AFP 
By Margaretta wa Gacheru

Posted  Monday, March 3   2014 at  21:19

Not since Princess Diana grabbed the imagination of the media and fashion world has any young rising star gained the sort of paparazzi prominence as has Kenya’s first Oscar award-winner Lupita Nyong’o.
The big difference between Lupita and Lady Di might not simply be that one was a British royal and the other a newly crowned Hollywood one; or that one shunned the paparazzi while the other beamed brightly whether on the Red Carpet, on late night American TV talk shows or on the covers of glossy fashion magazines, ranging from Vogue and Vanity Fair to Harper’s Bazaar, Essence or InStyle.
The big difference between the two beauties isn’t even that one was pearly white, the other jet black.
It is that Lady Di while living among the royals couldn’t collect cash on any of the media coverage that she received so abundantly.
But Lupita’s day in the sun comes with cash, loads of cash for the young Kenyan who will find winning an Oscar a most effective key when it comes to opening doors to big-money contracts.
In fact, even before she made history at the 86th Academy awards, Lupita had already signed lucrative multi-million-shilling contracts for not only more Hollywood films (starting with NonStop with Liam Neeson) but also to showcase practically every inch of her body – from her pedicured toes all the way up to the tip top of her natural ‘crew cut’.
Unlike the Nobel Prize that Dr. Wangari Maathai won in 2004 which came with a cash prize of US$1 million, the Academy Award that Lupita just won on Sunday night, for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in 12 Years a Slave, didn’t afford her a single penny.
The prestige of being honored by the American Academy of Arts and Science with an Oscar was meant to suffice.
But from the experience of other female Oscar award winners like Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie and Julia Roberts, one can reasonably estimate the worth of an Oscar when it comes to winning million dollar contracts.
Each of the Oscar winners have found it a stepping stone to multi-million dollar appearance contracts in lucrative advertisements for nearly everything in the fashion, luxury and leisure world – from make-up to alcohol to haute couture.
Besides they were readily signed on to make more movies, many of which earned millions at the box office.
Cate Blanchett for instance earned her first Oscar for her starring role in ‘Elizabeth’ in 1999 and got signed on to make the sequel and appearances in  countless films, from The Lord of the Rings series, Robin Hood and Indiana Jones to most recently, The Monument Men and Blue Jasmine for which she just won the Best Actress award at the Oscars.
Similar contracts came to other female Oscar winners including Kate Winslet, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren and Jennifer Lawrence.
What’s more, they are not the only ones in high demand. In 2011, Anne Hathaway was reportedly paid a whopping $750,000 (Sh65 million) by Tiffany & Co. to wear the brand’s jewelry when she hosted the Oscars, while Louis Vitton shelled out $500,000 (Sh43 million) for Gwyneth Paltrow to wear its jewels on stage.
 And Jennifer Lawrence recently found herself in the middle of a bidding war between designers who were fighting to have her wear their dresses to this year’s Oscars.  From the look of Lupita’s pre-Oscar schedule, the contracts may be coming in droves.

She has already been tipped “the toast of the beauty world” by Grazia UK – meaning that when she wears, for instance, fashion by Prada, Christian Dior or Calvin Klein, she gets paid a bundle.
This is merely because wearing these items offers them what Ann McCreath, founder of the Kiko Romeo fashion house, calls a “huge brand endorsement.”
That is also why everyone from shoemakers to jewelers to make-up artists will henceforth want their names associated with Lupita. For instance, at the recent film premiere of her latest film, NonStop, the media photos cited brand names for everything she had on, from the gown, shoes and make-up to the jewelry.
Such details are included in practically all the online images of Lupita, which implicitly means those brands are willing to pay top dollar just to be associated with Hollywood’s “It girl” of the season.
One of the notable contracts that Lupita has bagged is to be a ‘top model’ with Miu Miu for its Spring 2014 fashion campaign.
Gaining her first experience of modeling with Ms. McCreath at Kiko Romeo some years back, Lupita was well prepared to receive the call from the high fashion house that came out of Prada in 1993, founded by Miuccia Prada.
It is unlikely that the Miu Miu campaign will be Lupita’s last modeling gig. For every time she gets spotted by the paparazzi with the likes of Oprah, Sidney Poitier, Anna Wintour or Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Lupita’s personal brand value also rises exponentially.
Every time she is interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter, Guardian UK, Vogue, Vanity Fair or Essence magazines, her market value also shoots up significantly.

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