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Andra Day Recalls Losing 40 Pounds and Starving Herself on Set to Transform Into Billie Holiday
The rising star, who experienced widespread success from her 2015 single "Rise Up," was tapped to play the iconic jazz singer in the upcoming biopic, The United States vs. Billie Holiday.
In her W Magazine interview, which published on Feb. 23, the 36-year-old singer revealed what she underwent to physically transform into the late legend.
"I did some pretty extreme things for the character," she confessed. "There was the drastic weightloss—I wanted to have a body that looked like that period in time. Starving myself made me very weak on set 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."
She also elaborated on the weightloss, noting, "I was originally 163 when I started. I got down to 124. I don't necessarily recommend but to me, I didn't want my body to look like a gym body of 2020 or 2019 at the time. For me, it was important having a period body."
The actress even drank gin and bourbon to immerse herself in the role. "Even though you're really not supposed to do that—apparently that's a cardinal rule to not do that, but look—I was desperate, okay?" she laughed. "I didn't want to be terrible."
Instead, Andra's performance and song, "Tigress and Tweed," earned her not one, but two first-time Golden Globe nominations. With the 2021 ceremony just days away, it's not long now before we may be calling the multi-talented star a Golden Globe winner.
Until then, see more stars who have lost or gained weight to transform for a role with E!'s gallery below!