Andra Day, known mostly for her career as a singer, is now a bonified actress.
On Sunday, Feb. 28, Day became the second Black woman to win Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama, at the Golden Globe Awards. She won for her role in The United States Vs. Billie Holiday. Whoopi Goldberg was the first Black woman to win the award for her role in the 1985 drama, The Color Purple.
It took Day a few moments to realize whose name actor Joaquin Phoenix announced – most likely the product of the ceremony’s virtual nature and her own amazement. Once she did, however, the waterworks kicked in.
“First, I just want to say thank you to God, to Christ, my faithful in truth,” she said after collecting herself (0:33). She then thanked all those who helped in her journey to upholding the late jazz singer’s legacy. Day also received kudos from her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. on their Instagram page.
A Life-Changing Role For Day
Not only did Day make history, but she made history as a newcomer in the film industry. Billie Holiday is the first acting role that the 36-year-old has ever taken. And as an avid Holiday fan, she went to great lengths to ensure that she physically, and mentally, looked the part.
“I did some pretty extreme things for the character,” she said in an interview with W Magazine. “There was the drastic weight loss—I wanted to have a body that looked like that period in time.” She confessed that she lost upwards of 40 pounds for the transformation.
Day said she even took up smoking cigarettes for the role, adding, “I’m very fast, and she’s like molasses. Smoking helped to drop me into those dark places.”
Standing On The Shoulders Of Those Who Came Before Her
Shortly after the award show, Regina King made an impromptu visit to Day’s room to congratulate the actress. After a few shared hugs (and screams), Day told Access Hollywood what this award meant to her.
“This is why this movie makes me so proud,” she said (2:14). “because all of these stories that have been suppressed, and all of these stages and places that we have not been invited to.”
She continued, “All of these amazing actors, and all of these amazing artists that came before – that’s blood.”
Mia is a recent graduate of Penn State and an aspiring writer. When she is not writing for RoyalTee Magazine, she enjoys listening to music, learning graphic design, and reading.