Lupita Nyong'o Covers Backstage Magazine

The actress shares her training experiences and finding her calm amid the chaos.

Posted: 02/13/2014 08:32 PM EST

(Photo: Backstage Magazine, February 2014)

Have you lost track of all the winning magazine covers and exposure Lupita Nyong'o has been receiving since the release of 12 Years a Slave? Because we sure have — the girl is on fire! She's currently gracing the cover of Backstage magazine and talking about how she trained for her knockout role as Patsey, plus her upcoming feature Non-Stop

"I give myself homework when I have an audition. I give myself goals, and that's how I check how I'm doing. It can be something simple like 'listen,' or 'find your feet.' And then afterward it's an assessment, so in a way it's not about booking the job or not. It's about what I learned as an actor about that character. And if I can pinpoint something, then I'm in good shape. And if it's all a blur, then not so good."

She might have nailed her powerful performance in her first film — after all she did win a Screen Actors Guild Award and is an Oscar nominee for Best Supporting Actress — but the actress admitted that she's just as nervous about her second role alongside Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore as she was about 12 Years a Slave.

"As actors, you become an expert at starting over," she says. "Every single role brings with it an ignorance and an insecurity, and so you have to approach it with the same curiosity and humility. I'm always nervous. Doesn't matter how many times I do this. But I remind myself it's because I care. Steve would say, 'Fail and then fail better!' And that environment was so liberating. It's not about getting it right. It's about getting it truthful."

So how does she handle all the buzz and commotion that's been swirling around the Kenyan beauty? Nyong'o revealed her methods for relaxation, which she said is important when life gets chaotic.

"I got massage therapy; I got acupuncture," she said. "Those things are always very helpful. I rely on them for sanity. In the madness, you have to find calm."

To read the entire interview, click here.

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