09:50 AM EDT 01/20/2015

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5 Ways Yaya DaCosta Became Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston Biopic: How Yaya DaCosta Became The Singer

Originally posted 01/17/2015 07:40PM

Whitney Houston is one of the most recognizable singers in the history of music, so Yaya DaCosta did not take it lightly when she was cast to portray the icon in the Lifetime movie Whitney.

"I initially wanted to become her exactly. I was just set to do everything in my power to make the audience almost forget that they weren't really watching Whitney," the former America's Next Top Model contestant, 32, tells PEOPLE. "But then I realized that I only had a few days to prepare. It was more important to try and capture her essence than to go crazy because that could have come across as a mockery."

So just how did DaCosta capture Houston's essence?

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Watch the Trailer for Lifetime's Whitney Houston Biopic

Originally posted 12/06/2014 04:10PM



Whitney Houston's iconic life and career is coming to Lifetime in January, and the trailer is finally here.

Whitney is the directorial debut for Oscar-nominated actress Angela Bassett, who worked with Houston on Waiting to Exhale in 1995.

The film stars Harlem native Yaya DaCosta, 32, as the singer, who died in February 2012. DaCosta got her start on cycle 3 of America's Next Top Model in 2004. She has since gone on to do films such as 2006's Take the Lead with Antonio Banderas, and 2013's The Butler.

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Credit: Jason LaVeris/Filmmagic
Chiquis Rivera Will Play Her Late Mother, Jenni, in Upcoming Film

Chiquis Rivera Will Play Her Late Mother, Jenni, in Upcoming Film

Originally posted 10/16/2013 05:15PM

She looks so much like her mom that this is pretty much a no-brainer: Janney "Chiquis" Rivera has been cast to play her late mother, Jenni, in a new film being made about the singer.

Chiquis, 28, is the oldest daughter of the Mexican-American singer, actress and reality star, who died in a plane crash in December 2012 at the age of 43.

The biopic, which is being made in collaboration with the Rivera family, will mark her acting debut and she is reportedly prepping for the role by taking singing and acting lessons.

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