The United States Vs. Billie Holiday star Andra Day takes the cover story of V Magazine‘s Spring 2021 edition lensed by fashion photographer Djeneba Aduayom. In charge of styling was Patti Wilson, who for the session selected looks from PRADA. Beauty is work of hair stylist Lacy Redway, makeup artist Porsche Cooper, and manicurist Thuy Nguyen.
See more images and read quotes from Day’s interview with film’s director Lee Daniels below:
Quotes by Andra Day:
On the hope for the film’s impact on society: “I hope this is a revelation. First of all, telling Black women’s stories is huge for me. I would have people tell me, “You’re never going to do a role like this. There aren’t many roles for Black women.” And I’ve said this multiple times, but to me, that statement is baffling. I don’t understand.”
On her experience on set: “You know, my memories from [filming] are still so potent. And it’s like, I don’t want to do anything to alter that. And I’m telling you—when I say this, I’m not exaggerating, I’m not saying this because we’re on the phone. But [filming this] was one of the greatest moments of my life. It was really a paradigm shift.”
“Everybody [on set] was so supportive and concerned with each other. The integrity was there; the collaboration, the creativity. It just destroyed this whole idea that there’s only limited space for us.”
Quotes by Lee Daniels:
On the inspiration behind the film: “I can tell you that I wanted to do the film because the movie that really made me want to direct was [1972’s] Lady Sings the Blues. It was the first film that I’d seen, as a 13-year-old kid, where there were two Black people that were beautiful and were in love. And I didn’t know anything about Billie Holiday at 13. I just saw a couple in love, and music, and beautiful fashion, and I could smell the food. I could smell the fried chicken jumping off the screen. And I said, “Oh my God, I want to do this. I want to make people feel the way I feel right now.”
On the hope for the film’s impact on society: “When people walk away from this film, I want them to feel the way I felt making it. I looked at the way she stood up to the government, and it just made me think, “[I want to] get people to grow, to not be afraid of the system.” The system is flawed. It was never meant for Black people, for us. I think [Billie] understood that and was able to speak about it.”
On casting Andra Day as Billie Holiday: “We met and when I first looked at her, I saw her spirit. I got chills. She wasn’t a desperate actress that just wanted to do it. I could tell she was questioning whether she was good enough. To me, that is when you know that you are really dealing with a perfectionist. She wanted to do the role justice. That’s all you’re looking for as a director.”
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