Naomi Ackie hit the world premiere of I Wanna Dance With Somebody at AMC Lincoln Square Theater in a custom Schiaparelli gown on Tuesday, Dec. 13.
The 30-year-old actress stars as legendary singer-actress Whitney Houston in the biopic, and her glam red carpet look was a labor of love. The extravagant dress—which took more than 4,900 hours to make—included more than 21,000 Swarovski crystals and 212,500 silver glass beads.
Ackie wore her hair pulled back from her face at the event and kept her makeup minimal, with rosy cheeks and a nude lip, pairing her intricate dress with strappy jeweled heels and earrings.
The actress chatted with Vogue ahead of the film’s premiere to talk about the role and her custom look.
“My first ever fashion show in Paris was the Schiaparelli couture show just before lockdown, and I was so nervous, as I’d never been on the front row of anything before,” she told the outlet. “I was so aware of the history of Schiaparelli, and when I got there and the models began walking down the runway, I got really emotional because of the music and the clothes, and I started crying.”
Ackie shared that when she was first asked to audition for the part in the Kasi Lemmons-directed film, she said there was “absolutely no way” of filling Houston’s iconic shoes.
“But I’ve been with it long enough now that I’m really ready to share it with the world. I’m so proud of what we achieved with it and there’s a lot of love in there,” she said. “It’s a lot of pressure, and you can’t help but feel slightly stressed by the magnitude of it, but this is the last piece of the puzzle, in a way.”
I Wanna Dance With Somebody is out in theaters on Dec. 23, and also stars Stanley Tucci, Nafessa Williams and Ashton Sanders.