Whitney Houston Biopic Casts Yaya DaCosta: Here's Six Things You Need to Know About Her

Confirmed! Lifetime has officially cast actress Yaya DaCosta as Whitney Houston for their upcoming biopic. Despite Houston's family's original protests, it seems that, with this news, the film is intending to go on as planned. When the movie was first announced, Houston's sister-in-law Pat Houston told reporters, “Whitney is certainly worthy of more than a television movie. If Whitney were here today, this would not be happening.”

Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown was also upset that Lifetime was co-opting her mother's story and voiced her discontent at the idea of casting a lead that wasn't herself. On Twitter she wrote, "Any1 would or should EVER play my mother & tell OUR story, we've talked MANY times & 1 & ONLY person she approved of is ME. Understand that." At the time, the family was reportedly ”considering a lawsuit to block production."

But it seems that regardless of the family's feelings on the matter and their threat to take legal action, Lifetime is steamrolling along ahead of their 2015 premiere — and casting their Whitney Houston was the most important part of that process. But who exactly is Yaya DaCosta? Here are six things you need to know about the up-and-coming actress before the movie debuts.

SHE GOT HER START ON AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL

DaCosta was on Cycle 3 and finished in second place. And yes, that is a tarantula on her in that gif. Girl is hardcore.

SHE'S ALSO A TV ACTRESS

Although DaCosta continues to model, she's also transitioned into acting. She played PETA-loving Nico Slater on Ugly Betty, and has had small roles on shows like House M.D. and All My Children.

SHE HAS TRANSITIONED TO MOVIES

After a few years in the TV world, DaCosta started to book movie roles and played Mark Ruffalo's girlfriend in The Kids Are Alright in 2010. From there she moved on to small roles in major films like Tron: Legacy and Lee Daniels' The Butler.

SHE'S A NIPPLE RIGHTS ACTIVIST

The new mom has posted several pictures of her breast feeding on Instagram and Twitter in solidarity with the moms and boobs getting kicked off social media. She captioned this picture, "I'm so proud of you and stand by you! #breastisbest #whattheyaremadefor #getoverit #mamasunite."

SHE'S MULTI-LINGUAL

The actress/model can speak Portuguese, French, Spanish, and Japanese. This talent came in handy during the ANTM trip to Japan where her fluent Portuguese got the contestants out of a tricky legal situation that ultimately allowed the season to continue filming on location.

SHE'S IVY LEAGUE

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

DaCosta is seriously smart and graduated from Brown University with a degree in Africana Studies and International Relations. She's one of Hollywood's few Ivy League actresses.

Whitney Houston's daughter may not approve of the Lifetime film, but DaCosta seems like an intelligent, talented, well-rounded woman. So maybe between her casting and Angela Bassett's directing, this movie can step outside the Lifetime cliche and be an honest, inspiring commemoration of a wonderful woman.

Images: kisakiru/Tumblr; ABC; who-da-hell-iz-dat/Tumblr; theyayadacosta/Instagram; wifflegif