Zain Asher, a CNN reporter shed tears of joy during a television interview after learning that her brother, Chiwetel Ejiofor, has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.
According to Mailonline, her heartfelt reaction surprised her colleagues – not least because many didn’t even know she was related to the 12 Years a Slave’ actor.
‘This is a day my family has been hoping and waiting for for such a long time,’ Asher, a financial news reporter, told fellow CNN host Carol Costello after the network got wind of the connection.
‘He’s been acting since he was thirteen years old, and he’s worked so hard for this.’
She went ahead to describe how her brother would spend hours reciting lines of Shakespeare in his bedroom, she became emotional with pride.
‘Chiwetel – he’s been acting since he’s 13 years old and – oh my god! I told myself I wasn’t going to cry,’ she said through tears and laughter. ‘I do feel so emotional now.’
She added: ‘He’s someone who’s really dedicated and an actor’s actor. He’s been acting for over 20 years, and so to finally see recognition for his work – I can’t even describe the feeling.’
The 36-year-old Nigerian-British actor has worked on many box office hits in the past – from Love Actually to American Gangster – but 12 Years a Slave has garnered him new recognition.
‘There’s so many amazing actors and so he’s in good company,’ Asher said referring to the other nominees in the best actor category. ‘I wasn’t really sure when I was watching the nominations what was going to happen.’
She said that her brother, who is in bed getting over an illness, was also unsure about his likelihood of getting a nomination.
‘When we spoke last night he was a little bit nervous because there were just so many amazing people nominated this year,’ she said.