Andra Day Reveals the “Trauma” She Channeled to Play Billie Holiday

Andra Day didn’t just go through a physical transformation to play Billie Holiday in The United States vs. Billie Holiday, she also went through a taxing emotional journey.

The 36-year-old singer and actress is opening up about portraying to iconic jazz singer for E!’s “Ones to Watch” video series celebrating Black History Month.

“Obviously I was a fan of hers long, long before this, since I was 11 years old. But I still read Lady Sings the Blues a few times,” Day told E! News exclusively. “I read every book I could get my hands on, read every magazine article. Disparaging articles, positive ones, ones about her fashion. Studying the FBI even. It was the emotional work, that was the really challenging thing for me. There was a lot, a lot of work, a lot of research, a lot of transformation, but it was definitely worth it. She is worth it and I do believe god wanted this story told.”

In the film, Day sings Holiday’s famous song “Strange Fruit,” which is about racism and lynching in America.

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