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Oscars' It Girl, Lupita Nyong'o: Where she goes from here

In "12 Years a Slave," Lupita Nyong'o proved she had the ability to carry a dramatic, heart-wrenching role. Throughout the long awards season that followed, the starlet established herself as a virtually impossible-to-beat, social-media savvy, fashion-forward darling. But now what?Nyong'o captured our hearts, so it's no surprise we want more from the talented It Girl, but right now, there's not mu
Image: Lupita Nyong'o
David Livingston/Getty Images Contributor
Lupita Nyong'o.Today

In "12 Years a Slave," Lupita Nyong'o proved she had the ability to carry a dramatic, heart-wrenching role. Throughout the long awards season that followed, the starlet established herself as a virtually impossible-to-beat, social-media savvy, fashion-forward darling. But now what?

Nyong'o captured our hearts, so it's no surprise we want more from the talented It Girl, but right now, there's not much more on the way.

The 31-year-old currently has one of the shortest resumes in Hollywood. "12 Years" was her very first feature film, and her second, the action-thriller "Non-stop," is in theaters now. Beyond that? While there's no doubt a number of studios, publishing houses and fashion mags vying for her time, it's all still up in the air.

So, while Nyong'o listens "to (her) gut" as she fields offers, as she told The Hollywood Reporter she plans to do, we have our own ideas.

Follow in Audrey Hepburn's film footsteps
Hollywood loves a remake, as it's proved time and time again (and again). So if Nyong'o wants to try something different than anything she's done before, she could follow in the film footsteps of past Oscar-winning, gamine gal, Audrey Hepburn, and revisit a role like the one in "Roman Holiday."

The light, airy princess-out-her-element plot is still romcom gold, and all Nyong'o really needs is an appropriate stand-in for the great Gregory Peck.

Grace the cover of Vogue
She's already the freshest face of fashion house Miu Miu, and as such, she's appeared in Vogue, but it's time for Nyong'o to take her rightful spot on the cover.

MTV Style recently pointed out that the actress can pull off wearing any color in the crayon box. And from her red Ralph Lauren gown at the Golden Globes to her Oscar night blue Prada, she's established she can wear almost any style or designer too. As the big screen's newest fashion plate, she deserves to be seen front and center.

But don't just settle for a cover
A fun flick and a fashion-heavy feature would be nice, but we wouldn't want Nyong'o to only show off her lighter side. The truth is some of the things about her that have captivated us are her depth, substance and ability to inspire.

When she received her best supporting actress Oscar, instead of simply expressing gratitude for the accolade for her "12 Years a Slave" performance, she went beyond that, saying, "It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s."

That sort of reflection and awareness about the real lives behind her on-screen alter ego, and other similar sentiments that she's shared in recent months, shows why her voice merits more public forums. Nyong'o would make a perfect fit as a guest editor in any number of trade, current events or women's publication. Elle magazine, are you listening?

'True' TV — yes, TV
There was a time when a young, rising film star would never want to risk her big-screen momentum by working on the small screen, but that time has passed. With cable and web programming drawing big names and critical praise, television could actually be a smart move for Nyong'o — and another actress we can't get enough of, Jennifer Lawrence.

With Nyong'o's fellow Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey and Lawrence's "Hunger Games" co-star Woody Harrelson stepping down from their "True Detective" duties on HBO in just a matter of days, the anthology series will be in the market for a new mystery and a new top-notch Hollywood duo. Having a team of women lead the way next time would be a smart move to shake up the feel of the story to come, and having those women be Nyong'o and Lawrence would be sure to please fans and critics alike.

The Nyong'o film festival
When she's not busy in front of the camera starring in something as culturally important as "12 Years a Slave" (or something lighthearted, or working behind a keyboard, or on the runway, or as the familiar face of a worthwhile charity — really, what can't she do?), Nyong'o could highlight a collection of films she finds just as important.

Whether featuring little known stars, barely recognized directors or produced by studios unable to promote the efforts on a big scale, Nyong'o could use her own fame and ability to recognize significance of the medium to fill a film festival weekend of her own. Even better, stream it somewhere so we can get our Lupita fix from home. 

But whatever she chooses to do next, here's hoping Nyong'o doesn't make us wait too long for it.