Andra Day dropped weight for her Oscar-nominated role as Billie Holiday in Hulu's The United States vs. Billie Holiday

By Eric Todisco
May 11, 2021 12:29 PM
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Andra day - InStyle
Andra Day
| Credit: Chrisean Rose

Andra Day had mixed feelings about her weight loss to play Billie Holiday in her feature film debut.

In a new interview with InStyle, the 36-year-old actress and singer opened up about dropping 40 lbs. for her role as the iconic jazz legend in Hulu's The United States vs. Billie Holiday, for which she won a Golden Globe and earned an Oscar nomination for best actress.

"I've had people ask me, 'Do you feel prettier now that you've lost weight?' I was like, 'Hell, no! I liked being juicy! I was cool,' " Day told the outlet.

"But I do like the way [the weight loss] feels on my body, I like the way it feels on my joints," the star added. "You do notice a difference. Besides, to me, there is no such thing as a classic beauty. Beauty takes on so many different forms, in different times and depending on the nation. It's just about being confident, loving yourself, and understanding your value."

Andra day - InStyle
Andra Day
| Credit: Chrisean Rose
Andra day - InStyle
Andra Day
| Credit: Chrisean Rose

Day's award-winning portrayal of Holiday taught the "Rise Up" singer many things, including gaining the confidence to love herself.

"I definitely do," Day told InStyle of considering herself beautiful. "It has to do with Billie. It was almost like she said, 'Sis, we're going to have to close this, because I have to survive. She opened me up to valuing myself in a way that I hadn't fully before."

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Day previously discussed her weight loss journey before the Hulu biopic dropped in February during Variety's Actors on Actors with Leslie Odom Jr.

"I basically abused my body for a long time," she said at the time, adding, "I'm joking and not really joking."

"I went from 163 pounds to 124 pounds," the star explained. "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."

THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY Andra Day
Andra Day as Billie Holiday
| Credit: Paramount Pictures

Day also opened up about her preparations for the Hulu flick on a past episode of the PEOPLE Every Day podcast, telling host Janine Rubenstein that she smoked cigarettes and drank "a lot of gin" to lose the weight, which she doesn't recommend to others for health concerns.

"It was definitely a transformation," Day said of the role.