How Did Andra Day Lose Weight? Almost 40 Pounds Lost

Andra Day lost weight for her role in "The United States vs. Billie Holiday."

Andra Day, real name Cassandra Monique Batie, is an American singer and songwriter. She made her acting debut in the biopic “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” in 2021. She played the role of jazz legend Billie Holiday, whose nickname is Lady Day.

Andra won Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for her portrayal in the biographical film. She also received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. The singer has gone through many preparations to deliver a powerful performance.

Andra had to lose weight to embody the troubled vocalist. The process wasn’t easy for her, both physically and mentally. She wanted to make sure that her acting would be accurate as possible, so she shed a quarter of her body weight. However, she said the transformation made her “very weak.”

Andra Day's Weight Loss Tricks

The main keys to Andra’s successful weight loss:

  • She had to lose weight for her role as Billie Holiday in the film “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”
  • She started shrinking her caloric intake and began exercising
  • She admitted to trying Billie Holiday’s vices in order to lose weight and realistically portray the role
  • In real life, she lives healthy and has a gym at home
  • She has power rack, a multifunctional trainer and treadmill, a weight bench, some dumbbells, resistance bands, yoga mats, and a Bosu ball

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Andra Day shared what she had to follow to lose weight for the movie.

The singer lost 40 pounds for her role in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” In an interview with W Magazine, she revealed what she went through in order to achieve her figure in the movie. There are a few methods that she followed to lose weight.

“I was originally 163 pounds when I started, and I got down to 124. At first, I started by just shrinking my caloric intake, of course, and then exercising as well,” Andra shared. “But honestly, I did kind of starve myself a bit when I was on set.”

While she embarked on a weight loss journey to look more like Billie Holiday, the singer admitted that she didn’t want to be too fit for her role. She wanted to make her portrayal realistic and reflect the past, and losing too much weight may not suit the movie’s timeline.

“I didn’t want my body to look like a gym body of 2020. It had to look like loose skin and parts. That, for me, was important: having a body true to that period,” Andra explained.

Andra Day admitted she took up Billie Holiday's vices to deliver an accurate portrayal of the role.

The method Andra followed for her weight loss wasn’t entirely healthy, but she said that the process helped her embody Billie Holiday properly. It can be noted that the iconic jazz singer struggled with substance abuse.

“It made me very weak on set and slowed me down in a way that really helped with the scenes,” Andra noted.

The singer also admitted that she took up some of Billie Holiday’s vices to depict the role precisely. Prior to landing the job, Andra didn’t smoke or drink. But when she was cast for the movie, she revealed doing both to connect herself with the character authentically.

“I started smoking cigarettes, which I don’t do…It makes me feel like her; it slows me down. I’m very fast, and she’s like molasses,” Andra told W Magazine. “I did drink a lot of gin and bourbon and all of that stuff…Look, I was desperate. I didn’t want to be terrible.”

The singer landed the role in 2018 and has since researched Billie Holiday. She said that she put “herself and her family” through it. She made a lot of efforts and did everything she could to deliver good acting, noting, “I just was desperate because this is my first role.” 

Andra said she’s a fan of the late jazz siger, and what convinced her to take the role was “the idea that the movie would tell the truth of her story.” She added that the world never knew the late singer was a great godmother of civil rights, and exposing it “was really incentivizing.”

What does Andra Day do to live a healthy life?

While Andra had to drink and smoke for the movie, she’s actually very dedicated to living a healthy life. In fact, she has a little gym in her garage – and it has a “power rack, a multifunctional trainer and treadmill, a weight bench, some dumbbells, resistance bands, yoga mats, a Bosu ball.”

The singer said she hated cardio, but she needed to do it because her family on her father’s side were attentive regarding their hearts. Some of her usual routines include running on the treadmill and lifting weights. She feels motivated seeing certain muscles develop.

Aside from maintaining her physical health, Andra also looks out for her mental health. She said that exercising gives her more clarity in her thoughts and helps her function throughout the day. Working out makes her feel more oriented and makes her head feels clearer.

When it comes to her diet, she said to eat balanced, eat clean, and eat organic. Andra shared that she’s a vegetable person, and she likes grapefruits, as well. Moreover, she enjoys foods rich in vitamin C and everything good for her overall health.

“I focus mostly on vegetables and lean protein. And if I’m doing grains, I’ll have something like farro.”

Of course, the singer also craves certain foods. For her cravings, there are three specific meals that she wants. The first one is pasta, while the second is the yellow cake peach cobbler her mother makes. Lastly, she loves the Mexican food from San Diego, where she came from.

In addition to her physical and mental health, Andra believes health is spiritual for her. She said that her healthiest habit is her relationship with God. She always makes sure she has time for praying, reading, and meditating on what she reads daily.

“I do it as soon as I wake up or at night before I go to sleep. I sometimes do both just to keep my head focused.”

One of Andra’s goals is to do more community work, especially for the Black, brown, marginalized, and homeless people in the area where she grew up. She said that helping others is “tied to her existence,” which is why she’s here.

“That’s tied directly to my faith, directly to my God. My identity, in the end, is wrapped up in service. I believe I was put here to be in service of my God and people,” Andra said.

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