Lupita Nyong'o felt protected by big Hollywood stars when she was first starting out.

The 36-year-old actress made waves with '12 Years a Slave' - her first feature film role - in 2013, and she has paid tribute to the people she surrounded herself with for helping her adjust to her new life in the limelight.

Speaking in the latest issue of PorterEdit magazine, she said: ''Starting with 12 Years a Slave, I was welcomed [in Hollywood] with such warmth. My castmates surrounded me. I don't know if they are aware of this, but I felt so protected.

''Sarah Paulson: my God, that girl, she was like everything to me. And Alfre Woodard, she was invaluable. [...] Oprah embraced my mom and my brother and invited them to her house for lunch without me. I was just like, 'Wow, this is an incredibly supportive industry.' I didn't feel isolated.

''Gabrielle Union: we'd gone to a fashion show in France together and she'd been so open and embracing, exchanging phone numbers with me - there was a 'you need anything kind' of vibe.''

Lupita added that she had people around her in both the black and Hollywood communities, as she paid tribute to both Steve McQueen and Brad Pitt for looking after her.

She said: ''I didn't feel alone within the black community, I didn't feel alone within the Hollywood community. [Director] Steve McQueen really did look out for me big time. Brad Pitt, same thing.''

Meanwhile, the 'Black Panther' star also paid tribute to her friendship with 30 Seconds To Mars rocker-and-actor Jared Leto for helping her during the awards campaign season in 2014.

She revealed: ''Jared Leto, he's still on speed dial, because we were on that journey together and he's so embracing of me. There was an intimacy that grew from that, that goes beyond the dating rumors, beyond all that.''