Lupita Nyong'o wore a light-up dress programmed by young women, and it was stunning.

It's no secret that actress Lupita Nyong'o is a smart and talented movie star who elevates any red carpet she walks.

Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment.


And her appearance at a recent promotional event for the new "Star Wars" film, in which she plays Maz Kanata, was no different.

Nyong'o wore a beautifully designed dress that resembles the night sky (or a galaxy far, far away).

The dress was gorgeous, a ZAC Zac Posen design, and covered in flashing LED lights, lighting up in various intricate patterns as she walked down the carpet.

Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment.

Even cooler than that, though, the coding for those LED lights was created entirely by young female programmers who are part of Google's Made with Code initiative. The coding program was created to encourage girls to get interested in programming, which is important because, as MWC says on its website, "increasingly more aspects in our lives are powered by technology, yet women aren't represented in the roles that make technology happen."

Made with Code has a number of interactive coding projects to encourage this, including a music maker, a GIF animator, and — you guessed it — the opportunity to make your own light-up dress using the same Zac Posen dress Nyong'o wore as a template.


"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" co-stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega admire Nyong'o's light-up dress. Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment.

There's been a shift lately on red carpets as reporters are pressured to #AskHerMore. Nyong'o found a brilliant way to make sure that happens.

By highlighting the abilities of talented young female programmers in her fashion choices, Nyong'o has ensured a meaningful red carpet conversation. The move fits right in with #AskHerMore, which encourages reporters to ask actresses questions beyond what they're wearing on the red carpet.

Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images Entertainment.

Given how much technology played a role in making the Star Wars movies possible, as well as in the Star Wars universe itself, the Star Wars Force 4 Fashion event is a perfect venue for this type of dress and for showing women and girls how important and accessible coding is.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to learn how to animate a dancing yeti.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather
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While most 10-year-olds are playing Minecraft, riding bikes, or watching YouTube videos, Justin Sather is intent on saving the planet. And it all started with a frog blanket when he was a baby.

"He carried it everywhere," Justin's mom tells us. "He had frog everything, even a frog-themed birthday party."

In kindergarten, Justin learned that frogs are an indicator species – animals, plants, or microorganisms used to monitor drastic changes in our environment. With nearly one-third of frog species on the verge of extinction due to pollution, pesticides, contaminated water, and habitat destruction, Justin realized that his little amphibian friends had something important to say.

"The frogs are telling us the planet needs our help," says Justin.

While it was his love of frogs that led him to understand how important the species are to our ecosystem, it wasn't until he read the children's book What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada that Justin-the-activist was born.

Inspired by the book and with his mother's help, he set out on a mission to raise funds for frog habitats by selling toy frogs in his Los Angeles neighborhood. But it was his frog art which incorporated scientific facts that caught people's attention. Justin's message spread from neighbor to neighbor and through social media; so much so that he was able to raise $2,000 for the non-profit Save The Frogs.

And while many kids might have their 8th birthday party at a laser tag center or a waterslide park, Justin invited his friends to the Ballona wetlands ecological preserve to pick invasive weeds and discuss the harms of plastic pollution.

Justin's determination to save the frogs and help the planet got a massive boost when he met legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather

At one of her Roots and Shoots youth initiative events, Dr. Goodall was so impressed with Justin's enthusiasm for helping frogs, she challenged the young activist to take it one step further and focus on plastic pollution as well. Justin accepted her challenge and soon after was featured in an issue of Bravery Magazine dedicated to Jane Goodall.

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This article originally appeared on 06.16.15


A lot of parents are tired of being told how technology is screwing up their kids.

Moms and dads of the digital age are well aware of the growing competition for their children's attention, and they're bombarded at each turn of the page or click of the mouse with both cutting-edge ideas and newfound worries for raising great kids.

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