How actress Lupita Nyong’o celebrated her birthday

Lupita Nyong’o “treated” herself to a 10-day silent retreat for her birthday.

The 35-year-old actress was always interested in meditation and, after promoting Black Panther and attending a string of awards ceremonies, she felt like getting away from all distractions was the “best gift” she could offer herself.

In an interview with America’s Marie Claire magazine, she said: “Meditation is something I’ve always been interested in. It always has felt a little mysterious and out of my reach. Right after Black Panther came out, the day after the Oscars, I went on a 10-day silent retreat.

“It was a gift. I did it for my birthday. And it was the best gift because, the thing is, my job has two main parts. There’s the acting, and there’s the celebrity. 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.”

Lupita admitted the retreat was tough and she “constantly” thought about leaving, but after forfeiting her phone, signing an agreement to stay and stranded without a car, she was determined to stick it out.

She admitted, “I was constantly wanting to leave and then daring myself to take one more hour and another hour. 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.

“And our identities are built on assembling these things to basically write the stories of our lives, but learning to unclutch from that control makes it easier to live, to exist.”

The Us actress followed advice from a friend to listen to a favorite album after she left the retreat, and the experience gave her a new appreciation for Kendrick Lamar’s Damn,

She recalled: “The friend who recommended I go said, ‘Do yourself a favor and right after you get out, listen to an album you love.’

“And I listened to Kendrick Lamar, his album Damn. Usually, I listen to music and it’s backdrop. 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. I imagine that people sometimes get that from drugs. But it was really nice to get that just from spending time with myself.”

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required