Brandy Norwood was only a teen when she was picked by Houston herself to play the coveted role, and they had stayed close for years until the singer's death in 2012.
Whitney Houston has fans everywhere even almost a decade after her death. Her legacy has been kept alive by her songs and the movies she worked on. One of her films, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, which also featured then-teen singer and actress Brandy Norwood, is gaining some attention. The musical TV movie, which featured a diverse cast, will be part of Disney+ soon and children will be able to watch the iconic film.
Talking about the 1997 film, Brandy, now 42 years old, relived her time with her role model, Houston, and how The Bodyguard star changed her life. "She has changed my life forever and she's gonna change so many others that never really got to see her in her prime," she told ET. "I'm so glad that they're gonna see her in this light. This is the light that she should always shine in."
Back then, Brandy was only 18 years old, and working with Houston opened a new life for her. "It impacted my life on so many levels. It opened so many more doors for me... I was just able to continue to do what I love to do," she said. "Then later on in life, I was able to do Broadway. I just remembered all of my Cinderella moments and... I was able to take that with me and take it to Broadway."
Brandy said she still feels "humbled" that Houston picked her for the role. "Whitney could've chosen anyone, but she chose me and I am forever grateful for that," she added.
She still has many memories from the 1997 film. "My fondest memory is being in the studio with Whitney Houston. I was having so much fun. It was like nothing that I could ever really imagine, because she's right there, and I'm like, 'That's Whitney!'" she said. "I spent my whole life trying to meet her, so moments with her were the best... I just love her so much, still love her today."
Before Houston passed away in 2012, she had a three-hour conversation with Brandy. "She went into depth about me staying true to who I am. She made me promise her that. So that has always been what I have vowed to do. I live my life every day being more and more myself. That can work in any area of your life... Being true to who you are just sets you free on every level," she told ET. The mother-of-one told Vulture, "So I keep that and I try to live by that every day. That’s what I teach my daughter as well."
It's instances like those that keep Houston alive in our memories. "She's always with me," Norwood told ET. "I feel her always. Always."
Brandy, who recently released her seventh album, told Vulture that she "used to have dreams of her [Houston] when I was a kid, like being at her house and hanging out with her." She never thought she would "be on set with her hanging out in a pumpkin, in a dress, and she’s got a wand." For a young girl who had dreamt of working with the singing sensation, it would have been a dream come true to be featured in a film along side her.
The 42-year-old also didn't get the historical significance of the film back then, but understands it much better now. "I couldn’t grasp it all because I was so young. I didn’t really understand how revolutionary this was going to be, how big of an impact it was going to be. I knew that it was special, but I didn’t really know how special," said she.
Houston, who was the executive producer of the film, was "very down to earth, loving," revealed Norwood. "Her spirit was humble... She was just Fairy Godmother doing her acting and singing with all of us," she added.
The Preacher's Wife star died at the age of 48 on February 11, 2012.