In an interview with writer Rebecca Carroll, published Tuesday, she said: “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.’
“But I do like the way (the weight loss) feels on my body, I like the way it feels on my joints. 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.”
The feature film, directed by Lee Daniels and based on the book “Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs,” revolves around how the federal government targeted Holiday and her activism.
She first came under the spotlight of law enforcement in New York during the 1940s. Much of their interest stemmed from her 1939 song “Strange Fruit,” a powerful protest song that depicted black lynchings in the South.
Day, who started out as a singer, is no stranger to protest music. She performed her song “Rise Up” at the White House during Barack Obama’s presidency and it has since been adopted as an unofficial anthem by the Black Lives Matter movement.
In 1947, Holiday was arrested for a narcotics violation and spent a year in rehab. Yet days after her release she managed to play to a packed out Carnegie Hall.
Having fought her own battle with addiction, Day told InStyle that she now feels she is “honoring her [Holiday], and the strength that is femininity.”
Playing the part strengthened her own self confidence, Day said: “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.”