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Yaya DaCosta cast as Whitney Houston in Lifetime's biopic

Tyra taught her to smize, but will Yaya sing too?

EW has confirmed that Yaya DaCosta, who made her television debut in Cycle 3 of America’s Top Model, has been cast to play Whitney Houston in Lifetime’s upcoming biopic. The Brown graduate (as she frequently reminded us on the show) has made a name for herself since taking second place in the modeling competition, nabbing acting roles in All My ChildrenUgly BettyHouse, and even Lee Daniel’s The Butler.

TVLine first reported the news DaCosta’s casting. Lifetime previously announced that Oscar nominee Angela Bassett (who appeared most recently in American Horror Story) will direct the film about the pop star, who died two years ago at 48. Lifetime’s project will focus on Houston’s tumultuous relationship with the singer and songwriter Bobby Brown, which continued throughout much of her career. Whitney Houston (working title) marks Bassett’s directorial debut and is scheduled to premiere in 2015.

Basset co-starred with Houston in 1995′s Waiting to Exhale, making this something of a personal project for the actress. In a previous statement, Basset noted, “I have such regard for both Whitney’s and Bobby’s amazing talents and accomplishments; and I feel a responsibility in the telling of their story. Their humanity and bond fascinates us all. I’m beyond excited to have this opportunity to go behind the camera and into their world.”

- Jackson McHenry/EW

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