V128: ANDRA DAY IS BILLIE HOLIDAY

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LIGHTS... EDITORIAL

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ART/FASHION

Associate Art Director Shibo Chen Consulting Creative / Design Greg Foley Contributing Fashion Director Gro Curtis Fashion & Market Editor Aryeh Lappin Assistant Market Editor Sam Knoll Contributing Fashion Editors Paul Cavaco Nicola Formichetti Anna Trevelyan Amanda Harlech Jacob K Joe McKenna Melanie Ward Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele Jane How Panos Yiapanis Beauty Editor Stella Pak

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Digital Director Mathias Rosenzweig mathias@vmagazine.com Digital Editor Dania Curvy dania@vmagazine.com Social Media Manager Kevin Ponce kevin@vmagazine.com Weibo Editor Meng Ji Consulting Digital Editor Ian David Monroe ian@vmagazine.com

CONTRIBUTORS

Sølve Sundsbø Luke Gilford Djeneba Aduayom Patti Wilson Damon Baker Max Papendieck Erik Lee Snyder Chrisean Rose

PRESS & EVENTS

Purple PR Andrew Lister andrew.lister@purplepr.com Jocelyn Mak jocelyn.mak@purplepr.com Amy Choi amy.choi@purplepr.com

ON THE COVERS

Cover 1: Andra wears dress Prada Multiple Views, jewelry Cartier, gloves D.Bleu.Dazzled, flower MS Schmalberg Cover 2: Andra wears jewelry and watches Cartier, bra What Katie Did, flower MS Schmalberg

SPECIAL THANKS

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Photography Erik Lee Snyder Fashion Aryeh Lappin Chiharu holds Gucci Red suede Jackie 1961 small hobo bag ($ 2,300, available at Gucci.com.)


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Makeup Yui Ishibashi (De Facto) using CHANEL Les Beiges Hair Gonn Kinoshita using Amika Model Chiharu Okunugi (The Society) Manicure Eri Handa (Home Agency) Photo assistant Jeff Rose Hair assistant Ryosuke Yamazaki Retouching Kenan Atmaca

CAMERA... IN THIS ISSUE: 16 A MULTI-FACETED CLASSIC 18 HEROES 20 VOICES OF SPRING 22 METAMORPHOSIS 26 VOLUME UP ON VARSHA! 28 A IS FOR ANDRA 34 THE GIRL WHO FELL TO EARTH 44 SPRING AWAKENING 58 STATES OF GRACE 64 WHAT V WANT

Chiharu wears Hermès “Kelly Clochette” MM Rose Gold Necklace Hermès “Verso” Diamond and Rose Gold Necklace Hermès “Kelly Clochette” Rose Gold Bracelet ($4,925-$19,700, available at Hermès stores nationwide.)


Chiharu holds CELINE Medium Tambour Bag in Textile with Triomphe Embroidery ($2850, available at Celine.com)

ACTION!

Even before the first daffodils bloom we’re already looking ahead to spring, not just because we’re dreaming of warmer days (and the bright fashion that comes with it), but because we’re starting the year off with renewed hope. We’ve had a year to reflect, to adapt, to recognize the value of movement, connection, thought. We can’t regain the time we’ve lost so we’re making the most of it now: turning Bella Hadid into a B-movie sci-fi vixen, embracing the inimitable beauty of Grace Elizabeth, and of course capturing Andra Day in Prada and Cartier, oozing glamour fresh from her star turn as Billie Holiday in Lee Daniels’ breathtaking new biopic. We’re still in the midst of change, but the fashion and film industries are looking beyond the horizon and seeing the energy and excitement that’s beginning to bubble up. We might still be in a time of austerity, but it’s only served as a reminder that the creatives in the world are so-called for a reason. Here they are, on full display. MR.V


EIGHT ARTISTS MAKE THE LADY DIOR BAG THEIR CANVAS Photography Erik Lee Snyder Fashion Aryeh Lappin

Designed by From left to right Joël Andrianomearisoa, Giesela Colon, Judy Chicago, Recycle Group

The sculptures of L.A. artist Gisela Colon look like a droplet of water resting on a leaf, an ethereal gemstone, a self-contained bubble. Instead of a gallery wall, her work now finds new form in Dior’s Lady Dior bag as one of eight stunning artist collaborations for the house’s newest accessories line. With these unexpected link-ups, creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri literalizes fashion-as-art, with the boxy Lady Dior style roaring into expressive new life in untraditional fabrics and fresh textures, from craftsy wooden thread to iridescent glass beadwork. Each artist brings their own inimitable talents to the Lady Dior bag, creating a collection that hybridizes the luxurious and the avant-garde. Legendary downtown New York City artist Judy Chicago, a longtime friend and collaborator of the brand, puts a mystic spin on the Lady Dior bag with a pearlescent spiral of pinks and blues. Meanwhile, artists like British-Indian Bharti Kher and South 16

Africa’s Chris Soal take a (relatively) traditional approach, adorning leather with paintwork in kaleidoscopic shades. Each artist designed two to three bags in the mini, regular and/or large styles, using the differences in size as a blank canvas of opportunity. The art ranges from three-dimensional abstractionism to gallery wall-worthy impressionism, creating a collection that feels like a walk through the Louvre. Fashion has always been in conversation with art—drawing inspiration from a revolutionary artist here or a compelling work there—but rarely does it do so with this level of fluid symbiosis. As fashion and art continue their decades-long pas de deux, this collection brings them closer than ever. ALLISON FOSTER Lady Dior bag ($4,900-$13,000, all styles available at Dior boutiques.)

Photo assistant Jeff Rose Retouching Kenan Atmaca

A MULTI-FACETED CLASSIC

Designed by From left to right Mai-Thu Perret, Olga Titus, Judy Chicago, Chris Soal, Bharti Kher



Portrait © Gabe Gault

THE FOUNDER OF BLM TALKS ABOUT THE ACTIONS NEEDED TODAY, PLUS A LOOK BACK AT THE LEGENDS THAT HAVE FOUND THEMSELVES BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT

PATRISSE CULLORS From pounding the pavement with BLM to fighting for the rights of the formerly incarcerated—activist, artist, and author Patrisse Cullors has been a beacon of hope, pushing this nation forward. Following the news of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the 2012 Trayvon Martin murder trial, Patrisse Cullors took to social media in protest of the gross injustice. Closing out her post with “#blacklivesmatter,” a hashtag that swept the nation. It quickly became a symbol of solidarity and ultimately led to one of the largest grassroot movements in the world. To some it may seem like a stroke of chance, but Cullors was destined to lead a revolution. Born and raised in a city with a sordid history of police brutality, the L.A. native realized early on that change was needed, and that she wanted to be the one to bring it. “I became an activist because of what I was seeing and experiencing in my community,” said Cullors. “I grew up in a neighborhood that was over-policed, and where folks were being incarcerated often. A [neighborhood] that punished children for being poor and Black. It was depressing to witness and experience, so I wanted to do more.” Preparing for what would become her life’s mission, the activist nurtured her passion for social reform by studying thought leaders who came before her. “I started reading Audre Lorde and bell hooks to learn more about people who challenged the system,” she explains. And although Cullors was already light years ahead of her peers, it wasn’t until she attended a camp for social justice that she developed her unapologetic, unwavering sense of self 18

that we know and love. Cullors credits the National Conference for Community and Justice as the catalyst for a journey of self-discovery saying, “The NCCJ had us go through a series of experientials where we were confronted with all the socialization around our womanness, our manness, our transness, and our queerness. It’s where I really developed my identity and found myself.” Shortly after that, the activist also found her voice through a sobering encounter with homophobia, which she faced head on. While sitting with her girlfriend in a public park, Patrisse was berated by a man for having the courage to live openly. Left with feelings of embarrassment and shame, the 18-year-old struck back. The following weekend she wrangled up 10 of her closest friends and took to the streets of Los Angeles holding signs that read “Love Is Love” and “Stop Hate.” “It was really empowering, it was one of the first moments where I felt like I had agency,” said Cullors. “I realized that my voice and what I do in the world can change the system for the better.” From that moment on, the activist has served as a voice for marginalized communities across the United States. Most recently, Cullors was instrumental in the $150 million LAPD budget cut. Now she’s setting her sights on passing the Breathe Act, which would divest taxpayer dollars from policing and instead invest in community-based approaches to public safety. “It’s important that this [act] gets passed, we need [the Biden-Harris administration] to invest in healing this country from racism and racial terrorism. Now is the time.” CZAR VAN GAAL


heroes Lorem Ipsum wears Lorem Ipsum

DIANA ROSS As Billie Holiday is brought to the screen anew, we celebrate Ross’ portrayal of the blues icon in 1972’s Lady Sings The Blues. Miss Ross enters in a black fur coat. Her hands are slightly nervous—tense against this moment. She is suddenly flanked by a couple of correctional officers, one who tears off her gown for an orange prison uniform, the other jerks her hair back to take her mugshot. In this scene, from the 1972 biopic Lady Sings the Blues, Diana Ross plunges into the painful life of the late, great jazz and blues legend Billie Holiday. “People felt I couldn’t play the tragedies,” Ross told The New York Times at the time, speaking of her bracingly raw performance. “They think I was born with a silver spoon.” Directed by Sidney J. Furie, Lady Sings the Blues is a glowing celebration of Billie Holiday’s legacy as well as a poignant illumination of her stint in federal prison, years of heroin addiction, abusive relationships with men, and lifelong fight for racial equality. Beyond the critical acclaim, the film also made history with the unprecedented number of black creatives they featured, setting the tone for future productions. Now, Holiday’s legacy is being cherished again with a new Lee Daniels’ film, The United States vs. Billie Holiday, starring Andra Day. Nothing in Ross’s glitzy showgirl background prepared studios, critics, or audiences for her gut-wrenching performance as Holiday. And she brought the icon to life with dazzling style—Ross, a former fashion design and costume illustration major, had a hand in designing “Lady Day’s” most iconic outfits for

the film, collaborating with Norma Koch and Bob Mackie. The singer and the production crew were showered with awards, earning five Oscar nominations, with Ross receiving a nod for Best Actress. Prior to her silver screen debut, Ross led the Supremes to the top of the charts 10 times in less than three years. This Motown triad—Ross, Ms. Wilson, and Florence Ballard—became vehicles of social change, breaking the race ceiling by weaponizing fashion and defining the way many women wanted to look. From their dreamy sequined gowns to meticulous spider lashes, these powerhouse women of color created a personal style that was singular, recognizable, and instantly trendsetting. With a sultry soprano voice, whose texture is two parts honey, to one part vinegar, Ross brings an indelible savoir vivre to Lady Sings the Blues. Filled with more than a dozen of Holiday’s songs, Ross, grounded in her soulful roots, never tries to imitate the “Strange Fruit” singer. Rather, there was an uncanny echo, a suggestion, where her style pays homage to Holiday’s raspy, multitudinous intonation. Now, at 76 years old, Ross shows no signs of slowing down and in true hero form, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama. She is still the only artist to have No. 1 singles as a solo artist, as half of a duet, as a member of a trio, and as an ensemble member. And with Ross’s seemingly eternal brilliance, we find, to paraphrase Holiday’s own hits, no greater thrill than what she continues to bring to us. KALA HERH 19


© Julian Wasser. Courtesy Danziger Gallery.

VOICES OF SPRING A LITERARY LEGEND AND HOLLYWOOD’S NEWEST STAR ARE THE VOICES SHAPING CULTURE THIS SEASON

JOAN DIDION A new collection from the poet laureate of America’s disaffections takes on subjects from Robert Mapplethorpe to Martha Stewart. It has become easy to forget why the U.S. was once international dream fodder—Las Vegas’s artificial grandeur, New York’s skyscrapers, Los Angeles’s movie stars. But national treasures like Joan Didion, whose essays and books about American counterculture made her a literary household name since the ‘60s, serve as a reminder. Her new book, Let Me Tell You What I Mean, comes out this January, continuing her plight of poetically skewering and questioning her country while simultaneously admiring it. Many of these 12 essays detail her firsthand experiences and distinctivelyDidion ruminations on the country’s dark underbelly: gambling addicts, lives of war veterans, rampant drug use. The stories here span a 1968 exploration of the underground presses to 2000’s “Everywoman.com,” and serve as powerful reminders of where we’ve been. At times, they delve into the mythologies and realities of Americana. At other times, she places her finger directly on the human pulse of desire and vulnerability—American or not—interprets it, and 20

explains it to the world, illustrating universal themes with delicate poignancy. Moreover, we learn that these themes, which are also found in Didion’s more popular and later works, were topics that compelled her innately, long before she became the Joan Didion that, for example, received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama. Didion’s warmth stems from the fact that she herself is of this country, has greatly impacted this country, and is continuing to do so by resurfacing vintage material. She has written some of the most groundbreaking journalism and most heart-wrenching fiction of the past century, by means of being (in her own words), a “secret bully.” By this, she means her writing’s inherent force to push the reader in a certain direction. “In many ways, writing is the act of saying I,” she states in the book’s essay “Why I Write,” of “imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind.” But with Didion in particular, we should be thankful for the aggression. MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG Let Me Tell You What I Mean is out January 26 via Knopf.


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MAX HARWOOD unapologetically. Prior to landing the role, I’d just come to London to pursue acting, and I’d started mixing for the first time with queer people. I felt like I was really coming into my own queerness at that time. I was finding myself and I was finding this place where I belonged, which is the same journey that Jamie is on. V: In the film, Jamie’s relationships with his loved ones is what ultimately serves as a driving force for him to pursue his dream of becoming a drag performer. In what ways did you relate to that? MH: I really was drawn to Jamie’s relationship with the women in his life, specifically, his best friend Pritti and his mom. My best friends and my mom all lift me up and support me through anything—and the same can be said for Jamie. I think, as a queer person, having those people in your life to tell you that “you can” is so important. V: While you and the character have a lot in common, what were some ways you differed? What steps did you take to make those aspects of Jamie’s story you haven’t experienced read as real as the ones you have? MH: Jamie’s relationship with his dad is not as strong and that was not something I related to. Both of my parents have always been so supportive of me. The musical is inspired by a real person, Jamie Campbell, a boy who wanted to wear a dress to his prom, which ultimately strained his relationship with his dad. So I met with Jamie Campbell to get to know him and pick his brain about what that experience was like for him. This was an important part of my research and development for the role because it’s something that played a part in making Jamie who he is. V: What about the process of transforming into Jamie’s drag persona Mimi? What was that like? MH: I hadn’t done any drag before the role. I did extensive research through watching films like Paris Is Burning and the show Pose. I also binge watched all seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race. I felt somewhat responsible to deliver my lip sync in the best way possible. On the days of shooting Jamie’s performance scenes I felt so much pressure, and I just wanted to get it right. It’s a big moment in Jamie’s journey in this film. CZAR VAN GAAL Everybody’s Talking About Jamie hits theaters on February 26, 2021. Head to Vmagazine.com to read the full interview.

Photography by Misan Harriman Image provided courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

A West End modern classic is strutting onto the silver screen this spring—in four-inch heels and a flawless beat. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie follows a high school misfit from a Sheffield council estate to realizing his drag queen dreams, with a transcendent performance from industry newcomer Max Harwood. Drawing from his own struggles with identity, the 23-year-old theater buff brings an undeniable authenticity to the queer coming-of-age story. Every young queen needs a fairy drag mother, and Jamie is mentored by the vivacious Loco Chanelle (a bewigged Richard E. Grant), in an up-to-the-minute storybook tale to bring a little more magic to this spring. V: How did you land the role? Max Harwood: I went to the Guildford School of Acting for one year; [shortly after] I left for London to really pursue acting. I didn’t have an agent or representation at the time, so I just responded to an open call. I sent in a tape just telling them who I was and basically begged them to see me and give me a shot. That begging helped, and then they let me audition. It just so happened that the director Jonathan Butterell saw my ability and felt that I was the right person to take on the role. I can’t thank him enough, because he changed my life in that really sort of beautiful way. V: The film was adapted from a musical; were you familiar with it? What attracted you to the role of Jamie? MH: I was aware of the musical before I even knew that they were making a movie out of it. So, seeing the musical long before the audition and taking on the role gave me the confidence to get lost in the character of Jamie, but also make it my own. I think what attracted me to the role and story of Jamie is having a queer character on stage winning isn’t something that happens an awful lot. The messaging is so beautiful; it’s something that I always wanted to give a voice to, and it’s a story that I’ve always wanted to tell. V: What aspects of Jamie did you identify with? Were there any parallels between your story and his? MH: I related to picking the princess outfit in the dress-up box at play school. I related to throwing on party wigs and dresses in my early adolescence. I know what it’s like to be at school being named-called for being different. With Jamie, I saw a kid that had a dream and found the courage to be who he was

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METAMORPHOSIS

TIKTOK SUPERSTAR DIXIE D’AMELIO WEARS VALENTINO’S RESORT COLLECTION AS SHE REFLECTS ON HER RISE TO FAME—AND WHERE SHE’S GOING NEXT Photography Damon Baker Fashion Nicola Formichetti Text Czar Van Gaal

Dixie D’Amelio cannot be defined. After solidifying her place as one of TikTok’s reigning queens with 45 million followers, D’Amelio is switching lanes to take on her biggest challenge yet—climbing the music charts. Born in Connecticut, and now residing in the city of stars, the singer has always been musically inclined, tapping into her theatrical ethos at an early age. “I’ve always been into music,” she says. “I think that love came from my parents. Growing up, I did theater and other music-related activities. I just kind of lost the passion for it once I got into high school...but it [all] came full circle.” With dusky vocals complemented by her flair for addictive pop, D’Amelio hit the ground running by independently releasing her debut single, “Be Happy” in late June. The ballad chronicled her battle with—and triumph over—depression, racked up nearly 100 million YouTube views and caught the attention of L.A. Reid. Shortly after, she was signed to the mogul’s new label Hitco. Since then, D’Amelio has scored collaborations with some of the biggest names in music, from pop heartthrob Liam Payne to 10-time Grammy-nominated rapper Wiz Khalifa featured on her December-released single, “One Whole Day,” a pop-trap banger exploring love and heartbreak. The 19-year-old is honing in on her craft and on a mission to find her voice as a new artist. “I’m working on trying to find my sound, what kind of music I want to do, and to be taken seriously,” she says. “Yes, I do this for fun, but I work really hard. I put 100 percent into everything I do. I don’t want to just be another influencer in music messing around.” Head to Vmagazine.com to read Dixie D’Amelio’s interview with Wiz Khlaifa. 22


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“‘ONE WHOLE DAY’ IS A SONG OF EMPOWERMENT AND SPEAKS TO JUST BEING YOURSELF, GETTING OVER THINGS QUICKLY, AND NOT DWELLING ON THE PAST. MY ULTIMATE GOAL WITH MUSIC GOING FORWARD IS TO SHARE MY STRUGGLES WITH MENTAL HEALTH, HOW I DEAL WITH IT, HOW I MOVE PAST IT, AND HOW I WORK WITH IT EVERY DAY.” �DIXIE D’AMELIO

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Makeup Ozzy Salvateirra (Lowe & Co) Hair Patricia Morales (The Visionaries) Prop stylist Enoch Choi Production Savvie, Zach Riddle Digital technician Antoine Gonzalez Stylist assistants Marta Del Rio, Hunter Clem

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Dixie wears throughout Valentino Diary Collection and Valentino Garavani Romanstud Bag 25


VOLUME UP ON VARSHA!

Varsha wears all clothing, jewelry, bag Chanel Hat Eric Javits Tights Wolford

FRESH OFF THE RELEASE OF HER ADHURO EP, VARSHA THAPA DISCUSSES HER WORLDLY MUSICAL INFLUENCES WHILE SPORTING KEY WARDROBE STAPLES FOR THE SEASON AHEAD Photography Chrisean Rose Fashion Aryeh Lappin Text Gautam Balasundar

Singing in both English and Nepali over a hypnotic mix of Eastern and Western instrumentation, Varsha Thapa’s music isn’t conventional, but her lush vocals draw listeners into her distinctive sound. The burgeoning musician and model leans into her global roots—born in Nepal, schooled in India before moving to America—and imbues her music with sounds not often heard in the western pop mainstream. Thapa began modeling in New York City, where she got attention for blending traditional Nepalese accessories (the dhagos in her hair have become her signature) with fashion. “There was this whole scene of art and music, and street art. People just being who they are. I lived with a few artists and a photographer, and we were all just in collaboration with one another in various ways. And then, that’s when I realized this is where creatives come and they thrive. And they live off one another’s energy, which was very inspiring to me.” That inspiration drew her further into music, forming the band Sita Virgin with guitarist Rob Mastrianni in 2018, before releasing music under her own name last year. Her influences are wide-ranging, and she cites everything from Pink Floyd, Nirvana, and Lana Del Rey to music from Nepal and India with tablas and sitars. “I can listen to all genres, all kinds of musicians, and that’s because nothing is good or bad; it’s just art. You just enjoy it, and you have an appetite for it.” She merges all of these influences to convey the breadth of her personality and reflect her true self. “My job is to just say, ‘How can I bring me into the music that I’m making?’ What we (as musicians) have to do is bring ourselves, bring our story, bring our heritage and culture, and align it with the place we’re in. Head to vmagazine.com to read the extended interview with Varsha. 26


Makeup Crystal Gossman using Surratt Beauty Hair Chika Nishiyama Model Varsha Thapa (The Lions) Manicure Eri Handa (Home Agency) Lighting / Digital technician Jim Lafferty Stylist assistant Sam Knoll Photo assistant Omer Kaplan Location Slate Studios

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All clothing, shoes, hat Gucci Tights Wolford

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IS FOR ARTIST. A IS FOR ADVOCATE. AND A IS FOR ANDRA. AS THE LEAD IN LEE DANIELS’ NEW BILLIE HOLIDAY BIOPIC, ACTRESS ANDRA DAY DELIVERS A SUPERNOVA PERFORMANCE, WHICH BRINGS THE LADY OF THE BLUES’ MANY FACETS INTO DAZZLING FOCUS. HERE SHE IS CAPTURED IN MIUCCIA PRADA’S COSTUMES FOR THE MOVIE, THE DESIGNER’S LAST SOLO COLLECTION, AND THE HOUSE’S SPRING COLLECTION CO-CREATED WITH RAF SIMONS Photography Djeneba Aduayom Fashion Patti Wilson Text Mathias Rosenzweig 28


Andra wears dress and cape Prada SS21 Jewelry Cartier Gloves D.Bleu.Dazzled Flower MS Schmalberg


illie Holiday’s life was so immense, so soaked in motley experiences, that it can be hard to grasp as a whole. In part, this is why the general populous knows only fragments of the Philadelphia-born jazz and blues singer’s story: She struggled so heavily with drugs that they eventually cost her her life, and that she was one of the few Black artists to “make it” in the ‘40s and ‘50s, when aggressively racist Jim Crow laws still governed much of the U.S. She suffered so deeply from heartbreak that she has become an international symbol of it. With his latest film, this February’s The United States vs. Billie Holiday, Lee Daniels has set out to change that by lifting up the rug and casting a spotlight on what society has swept under it. It is a story of persecution, not so much by independent racist parties (the Klu Klux Klan, for example), but the U.S. government itself, which sought to persecute and jail Holiday for seating people of different races together in her audiences and singing Abel Meeropol’s song, “Strange Fruit.” With lyrics like, “Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze / Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees,” the piece plainly evoked the horror of lynching, much to the outrage of the Americans who were still fighting for segregation. There are obvious connections to the brute police force against Black Americans that continue on to this day. As Holiday, acting newcomer Andra Day is penetrative. Her performance pierces into you and leaves you unable to forget what you have felt and seen. That potency spans emotive stage performances (always decked out in Prada, with Miuccia Prada acting as costume designer for the film), or her drugged use while off of it. Day metaphorically—and literally—strips herself naked, embodying such a lovable version of Holiday that you miss her once the film ends. You feel as if you are watching history brought to life. Yet there is also the sense that Day, with her phenomenal portrayal, is creating history of her own. V spoke to Lee Daniels and Andra Day over the phone in late November for their first-ever joint interview, recounting a story of meeting one another that kicked off with immense doubt and ended in a life-altering experience. Mathias Rosenzweig: Lee, why did you want to make this movie? And Andra, why did you want to be a part of it? Lee Daniels: This is our first time doing [an interview], so you’re catching us fresh. 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.” So that movie intoxicated me, not only with the feeling of loving my people, but a feeling of understanding that I wanted to continue to tell stories. I wanted to do what that film did, which is tell beautiful stories about love. And so that started the whole Billie Holiday thing. And when I found that that [depiction] wasn’t really the case, I really wanted to know what happened. And I think that the civil rights of it all blew my mind, and her story blew my mind. So that’s the reason why I wanted to do it. Andra, why did you want to do it? Andra Day: Like you said, the civil rights. The truth of it all actually mattered to me. Because, as Lee knows, and we’ve laughed about this a bunch of times—at first I was terrified. I was hesitant, and I was like, “I don’t know if this is a good idea.” Also, I loved Lady Sings the Blues. I love Diana [Ross’] performance. So it was actually part of the reason I did not want to do this. She killed the role. It’s beautiful what she did. But Lee, I remember we sat down and had dinner at Soho House, and the first thing I really liked was actually your energy. We bonded over good stuff and bonded over the bad. It was your character and your need for authenticity that I really enjoyed. LD: I mean, I drove to Soho House not really wanting this to happen. AD: You told me [laughs]! LD: My managers, people who work with me, they were like, “[Andra] is who you have to hire.” And I was like, “Fuck y’all.” I was like, “Poor girl, she doesn’t stand a chance.” But then 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. MR: Despite Billie Holiday being long gone, her music and legacy remain such a big part of so many people’s lives. Can you talk about the pressure of portraying her? LD: I did not want [her] to be a victim. To the point where we had several issues after, and I realized that she was a little too hard. And one of the things I never wanted her to do was cry. I wanted her to play tough, but she was a little too tough. We had to do some reshoots. So I wanted to show that she wasn’t a victim. And then I wanted to show…hmm, how do I say this right? How do we fall in love with someone who is a drug addict, someone who will kick your ass? It was like walking a tightrope for me because I tried to make sure that I did her justice, but that we also showed her flaws and made her beautiful. That was really, really, really scary. We were both scared. AD: You just asked the question where you were saying, “How do we make her lovable?” The reality is, you did it by telling the truth, by not sugarcoating. Because really, she was adored. It’s like, if you tell the truth about Billie Holiday, people are going to fall in love. She was one of the only artists who had the power to captivate audiences of all races around the world. She was a global

superstar. People would write about her in the paper, and they would write positive things and they would write negative things. But ultimately, everybody really, really loved her. You know, I really love this woman so much. And I always have. She’s charming. She makes me laugh. We have conversations. I know that sounds crazy. She’s nuts. And she’s hilarious. You want to be around her presence all the time. LD: Just when you think you know her, you don’t. We wanted to show how spiritual Billie was. So you see her in church, and then the very next shot you see, it’s with her legs wide open and backstage at Carnegie Hall, smoking a cigarette. AD: Oh that one made it in there? The one in the dressing room? LD: Yeah. Wide open. MR: Andra, you haven’t seen the movie yet? I think you’re going to blow yourself away when you see it. AD: I know, it’s so funny. 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. LD: I agree. It’s magic. AD: And that’s why I haven’t seen it. Ultimately, I feel like I’ll do it in a premiere situation. And I want to say, about being on set, there was also this urgency. It wasn’t like we were doing a casual comedy. There was urgency on set every day, day in and day out. LD: This was really a call to arms, because we all knew, we could all feel it in the air, that Black men were being killed. We knew what was going on in America. And this was right before Breonna [Taylor]. You could feel the hatred in the air and it was important. We needed to capture this right away. MR: Lee, you mentioned not wanting to portray Billie as a victim. But she certainly was a victim of certain things. Can you elaborate a bit on that? AD: My experience with Lee, with loving [Bille] and knowing her in the movie, is that he did not want her to have a victim mentality. She was a victim of experiencing trauma. She was Black, at that time in this country, period, but she was not a victim in the mind. [Crunching sound] and I just want to say, I’m eating my Doritos right now while doing this interview. MR: You just do whatever makes you happy [laughs]. Obviously, you are a singer and you played a singer. What was that like for you? AD: There are ways that we’re similar, but there were things like the drugs that I needed to get an understanding of—the addiction. I’ve had many conversations with people about it. I read her biography. I read everything I could get my hands on. And I understood the need to say something with a platform. What I needed was to grab the sense of urgency, that if I sang “Rise Up,” I could be killed by the cops. You could be doing nothing, sitting in your house, and get shot by the cops. And then again, the deal with addiction. [Speaking for Holiday:] “Why am I an addict? Why do I do drugs? Why am I such a heavy drinker?” So I really needed to understand that trauma and that pain. You have your emotional pain, right? I’m sure you have your own traumas in life. Imagine a drug that’s tied to all of your emotional pain, that’s tied to your memory, that’s tied to the way you function…it can actually remove your emotional pain. And then when you’re coming down from that, and you want another hit, and you’re not even getting high. I sat with a former addict who taught me about that stuff. It was really intense. I have different ways that I process my trauma, but I really needed to understand why she chose to process her pain in this way. [To someone in the same room] You are taking pictures of me eating fucking cheese Doritos. You are an asshole. [Everyone laughs]. MR: What do you guys hope the impact of this movie will be? AD: 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. One of the biggest things is I wanted people to get to know her. We have to understand that a lot of [Black people’s] stories have been intentionally kept from people, and that the history we hear is not accurate. You cannot tell American history or world history without telling African history. You have to understand how much of our history has been wiped off the map because that was their goal. With Billie, the narrative basically eradicated her, or tried to, but they couldn’t because she was too famous. So they told the story but they spun it in a different way. I want this to tell the truth of our narrative. I want it to be a revelation like, “Okay, apparently I’ve been lied to about a lot of these stories.” Like with [the film] Hidden Figures, that three Black women were responsible for sending us to space and programming the first computer. What that would have done for me as a little girl to have known that… LD: 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. She was like, “No, I’m not the one. I’m not the two and I’m not the three.” Also, it was a Black set. Black cast, Black director, Black team. I keep forgetting what I bring to it. And I’m not bragging about it. It’s the sense of a cookout. It’s just what I bring to the table as a director…there needs to be more Black films, and there needs to be more Black directors. AD: 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. The United States vs. Billie Holiday is out on February 26.


“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.” �ANDRA DAY

Dress, costume designed by Prada Jewelry Cartier Flower MS Schmalberg


Jewelry and watch Cartier Bra What Katie Did Flower MS Schmalberg

Lorem Ipsum wears LoremLorem Ipsum Ipsum wears Lorem Ipsum


Makeup Porsche Cooper using La Mer Hair Lacy Redway Manicure Thuy Nguyen (A-Frame Agency) Set design Ward Robinson (Wooden Ladder) Executive producer Zach Crawford (Crawford & Co Productions) Producer Rachelle Phillips (Crawford & Co Productions) Digital technician Toma Kostygina Photo assistants James Bianchi, Dylan Catherina Stylist assistant Taylor Kim Tailor Hasmik Kourinian (Susie’s Custom Designs) Set design assistants Abimael Linares, Luis Gonzalez Location Smasbox Studios L.A.

Dress Prada Multiple Views Jewelry Cartier Gloves D.Bleu.Dazzled Flower MS Schmalberg


Bella wears top Dior Skirt Wolford Shoes Giuseppe Zanotti Earrings Bulgari Briefcase stylist’s own On lips throughout Diorshow 24hr Stylo 296 Matte Blue Rouge Dior 434 Promenade Rouge Dior 964 Ambitious Matte On eyes throughout Diorshow 24hr Stylo 771 Matte Taupe Diorshow 24hr Stylo 091 Matte Black Diorshow 24hr Stylo 296 Matte Blue

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THE GIRL WHO FELL TO EARTH AN OTHERWORLDLY BELLA HADID APPEARS FROM ABOVE TO PROBE EARTH IN THE LATEST FASHION Photography Luke Gilford Fashion Anna Trevelyan


Jacket and pants Louis Vuitton Top (worn underneath) Karen Heshi Earrings Bulgari


Dress Burberry Watch Omega Earrings Bulgari


Jacket Giorgio Armani Top (worn underneath) Karen Heshi Skirt Vex Bag and shoes Giuseppe Zanotti Earrings Bulgari Phone (worn on shoe) Motorola Razr

HERMES


Dress Hermès Bodysuit (worn under) Spanx Earrings Bulgari


Briefs Savage x Fenty Earrings Bulgari Shoes Giuseppe Zanotti


Briefs Savage x Fenty Earrings Bulgari


Jacket Mugler Earrings Bulgari

Makeup Sam Visser (Forward Artists) for Dior SPFX Makeup Izzi Galindo Hair Lucas Wilson (Home Agency) Model Bella Hadid (IMG) Manicure Naomi Yasuda (Management + Artists) Producer Bill Galusha Safety supervisor Ben Gutierrez Photo assistants John Griffith, Clay Howard-Smith, Michael Tessier Stylist assistant Sam Knoll, Timothy Luke SPFX Makeup assistant Emily Schubert Location 16 Beaver Studio


Bella wears earrings Chopard On mannequin necklaces Laruicci


Jean wears all clothing and accessories Simone Rocha

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AWAKENING

TO OPEN 2021, DESIGNERS CAPTURE THE DRAMA, THE VIBRANCY, AND THE GRANDIOSITY THAT DEFINES THE ARTISTRY OF FASHION Photography Sølve Sundsbø Fashion Gro Curtis


Dress and shoes Valentino On hair R+Co Bleu SMOOTH & SEAL BLOW-DRY MIST


All clothing and accessories Kenzo


Dress Burberry Earring Simone Rocha


All clothing Prada Veil stylist’s own On skin La Prairie Skin Caviar Perfect Concealer


All clothing and accessories Erdem On lips Byredo Lipstick China Plum


All clothing Fendi


All clothing and accessories Giorgio Armani On eyes UZ Eye Opening Eyeliner


All clothing and accessories Paco Rabanne


All clothing Dior


All clothing and accessories Rick Owens On eyes Pat McGrath Celestial Divinity Luxe Quad Interstellar Icon


All clothing and accessories Loewe


Dress Chanel On hair Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray

Makeup Val Garland (Streeters) Hair Kei Terada (Julian Watson) Model Jean Campbell (DNA) Manicure Robbie Tomkins (Premier Hair and Makeup) Production Sally Dawson, Paula Ekenger Digital technician Lucie Byatt Photo assistants Samuel Stephenson, Sebastian Kapfhammer, Hristo Hristov Stylist assistant Aurelie Mason-Perez Makeup assistant Laisum Fung Hair assistants Takuya Morimoto, Christos Bairabas Retouching Digital Light Ltd


All clothing and accessories Givenchy


STATES OF GRACE AMERICAN BEAUTY AND MODERN MUSE GRACE ELIZABETH TAKES CENTER STAGE, SHOWCASING HOW TO USE MINIMAL PIECES FOR MAXIMUM IMPACT Photography Max Papendieck Fashion Aryeh Lappin

Grace wears top Tom Ford On lips throughout Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Matte Irrepressible 58


Clockwise from top left Jacket Bottega Veneta Shoes Jimmy Choo Dress and necklace Givenchy Jacket Louis Vuitton Dress Burberry Shoes Giuseppe Zanotti Necklace Bulgari Dress Chanel Shoes Jimmy Choo Dress and shoes Dsquared2


Clockwise from top left Jacket and pants Celine by Hedi Slimane Shoes Gianvito Rossi Dress Emporio Armani Watch Cartier Dress Dsquared2 Shoes Jimmy Choo Dress Dsquared2 Jacket Bottega Veneta Shoes Jimmy Choo


Jacket Louis Vuitton


Jacket and pants Celine by Hedi Slimane


Clockwise from top left Dress Emporio Armani Shoes Gianvito Rossi Watch Cartier Dress and shoes Dsquared2 Dress Chanel Jacket Bottega Veneta Dress Emporio Armani Shoes Giuseppe Zanotti Watch Cartier Dress, necklace and shoes Givenchy

Makeup Maki Ryoke (Streeters) Hair Ben Skervin (Tracey Mattingly) using Oribe Model Grace Elizabeth (Next) Manicure Eri Handa (Home Agency) Production Alexey Galetsky Photo assistants Kevin Lavallade, Kevin Drelon Location Sid Studio


WHAT V WANT

For a brand as synonymous with luxury as Cartier, there’s little that requires introduction in their lineup. But the brand is still finding new ways to enter your collection with the launch of their new line of Objects for the home. Here, they bring the same elegance to homewares as they do to their jewelry and watches. Case in point, the Panthère de Cartier vase and pencil holder, which will stylishly house any small item you want. As versatile members of the broader ‘Objects’ collection, these porcelain and gold-trimmed vessels exude a refinement that can enliven any space with their simple charm. Panthère de Cartier porcelain vase ($1,250, available at Cartier boutiques.) Panthère de Cartier porcelain pencil holder ($740, available at Cartier boutiques.)

CARTIER DEBUTS A COLLECTION OF OBJECTS JUST IN TIME FOR A SPRING REFRESH

Makeup Yui Ishibashi (De Facto) Hair Gonn Kinoshita using Amika Model Chiharu Okunugi (The Society) Manicure Eri Handa (Home Agency) Photo assistant Jeff Rose Hair assistant Ryosuke Yamazaki Retouching Kenan Atmaca

Photography Erik Lee Snyder Fashion Aryeh Lappin Text Gautam Balasundar

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