Jordin Sparks: What She Learned From Whitney

The American Idol champ discusses her new musical Sparkle, her first visit to a gay bar, and the cautionary tale of Whitney Houston.



What kind of relationship did you two develop?
I was the youngest person on the set and she was the mama bear and we immediately gravitated toward each other. We definitely bonded. Whitney loved all three of us girls. I think the chemistry we shared comes through onscreen. While working with her I had moments during the days where one side of my brain would think it’s time to do my job but the other would be a fan girl and freak out at being next to Whitney. Working with her was …she was so sweet and so excited to be doing the film because she’d been trying to get it made for so long. Every day she’d come on the set and say, “How are my babies? How are my babies? God is good.” She really set the tone for the day. She was such a light. In 20 years when I’m talking about my first film I can say it was a lead role in a film with the legendary Whitney Houston.

Whitney has some dialogue in the film which must have hit really close to home for her. Her character has a line about her life serving as a cautionary tale for her daughters. Was there any discussion about this on the set?
I never had the chance to ask her for advice and I wasn’t about to ask her about her personal life. But I remember sitting there when she said that line and thinking, Wow, that’s really poignant. I knew that she related to what she was saying. I’m sure she had those types of talks with her own daughter. But now watching it without her here it carries an even bigger weight and more meaning. A lot of the things she says, like “Is my life not a cautionary tale for you?” And at the end before I do my big number she says, “Don’t ever lose that sparkle because some of us are still trying to find it.” I was like, “Wow!” My and Sparkle’s stories are very similar, but the parallels between Whitney’s own story and the sisters in the film is insane. She wasSparkle and Dolores and the mother. It’s almost like you watch this film and it provides all the answers to questions people have about her.

Tags: film