Andra Day Claims Desperation to Portray Billie Holiday Led to Her Abusing Her Body

Speaking about her role as the jazz and blues legend in 'The United States vs. Billie Holiday', the 'Rise Up' singer admits to adopting a drastic weight loss regime in addition to drinking and smoking.

AceShowbiz - Andra Day put her body through hell to portray jazz and blues legend Billie Holiday in a new Hulu drama.

The singer took a deep dive into Holiday's life and career before shooting on director Lee Daniels' "The United States vs. Billie Holiday" began, and admits she adopted a drastic weight loss regime and started drinking and smoking to get into the skin of the music legend.

"I basically abused my body for a long time...," she tells Variety. "I got the role at the very top of 2018 (and started) reading everything I could get my hands on, listening to every interview. Apparently, I exhausted the Internet of Billie Holiday photos. Apparently, the Internet will tell you that you've reached the end."

"I put my family through it; I put myself through it... 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."

"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 changed the way she sang for the role, adding, "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 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."

"The United States vs. Billie Holiday" drops on Hulu on 26 February.

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