Andra Day Had To Lose Weight And Started To Drink Alcohol To Portray Billie Holiday

Andra Day went to the extremes in order to portray Billie Holiday in the Oscar-nominated movie "The United States vs. Billie Holiday"

By Ingrid Mateos

- April 25 , 2021 - 15:54 hs
The United States vs. Billie Holiday

The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Takashi Seida/Paramount Pictures, Paramount Pictures/Hulu)

Oscar nominee Andra Day has joined the club of method actors who take too seriously their roles. The American singer, now actress, made her debut on the big screens and due to this, she went to the extremes in order to prepare his portrayal of Billie Holiday in the acclaimed movie directed by Lee Daniels “The United States Vs. Billie Holiday.”

Andra revealed that she lost 39 pounds and while she was at it, she also started smoking and drinking alcohol. “I went from 163 pounds to 124 pounds. I would talk like her and I don’t drink or smoke, but I started smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. Not that I recommend people do this; I just was desperate because this is my first role.”


Indeed, it is the first time Andra Day starred in a movie, and what a way to debut we have to add. She already won the 2021 Golden Globe for Best Actress and she (obviously) expects to win the Academy Award. She also confessed she starved herself to lose the required weight, but it also helped her in a different way. “Starving myself made me very weak onset and slowed me down in a way that really helped with the scenes with heroin. Then I started smoking cigarettes; it made me feel like Billie. I'm very fast, and she's like molasses. Smoking helped to drop me into those dark places."

Billie Holiday suffered through all her life, being a victim of rape and domestic abuse and for this, Andra Day revealed he prayed, a lot. “I just asked God to give me all of the pain and trauma. I asked him to give me her pain and give me her trauma.” Day also revealed that she researched all the life of the famous jazzist and that created the motivation about what she needed to do. “I basically abused my body for a long time. I’m joking and not really joking. I got the role at the very top of 2018. Reading everything I could get my hands on. Listening to every interview,” she said. “Apparently, I exhausted the internet of Billie Holiday photos. Apparently, the internet will tell you that you’ve reached the end.”

If you have not watched the movie, we have to tell you that Andra put her voice to good use and sings here, (she is portraying a jazzist, what did you expect?) But revealed that thanks to this experience, led her to change her way to perform. “That was an early decision that we made right away to do the singing,” Day said. “Every time I would sing a song I’d go, ‘OK, Lee’s going to hear this and he’s going to fire me.’ But I wouldn’t have done it if they’d been, ‘Do it in your voice.’ That for me would have probably been a no. There’s victory and there is a pain in her voice. So to me, it was just like we’ve got to get it, we have to get it, you know what I mean? It’ll have to be my interpretation of it, but it has to be there.”

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Ingrid Mateos

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