Watch: Billy Porter reveals his favourite Fairy Godmother
The 51-year-old singer and actor, who plays a genderless version of the character in the new Amazon musical, tells Yahoo Entertainment UK that Houston's take on the magic visitor in the 1997 movie Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella was untouchable for him.
"Who else is there? It was Whitney Houston's version that I loved the best," he says, revealing that Houston had always been an idol of his.
"As a kid growing up, Whitney Houston was my favourite. I wanted to grow up and be the male Whitney Houston. So look 'Ma, I get to play the Whitney Houston part'. That's the greatest part of the whole thing to me."
Porter, who won a Tony Award for originating the role of Lola in Kinky Boots, has become renowned for red carpet fashion which challenges traditional gender norms.
He sought to bring that to the role of Fab G, who appears in the movie to send Camila Cabello's title character to the prince's ball, and says he feels "really blessed" to be able to be part of a movement towards more diverse storytelling.
Porter says: "I'm so grateful to have lived long enough to see the day where the world has caught up and has transitioned into something more inclusive and more diverse and ultimately better. It's beautiful.
"I think it's important because representation is key to us understanding ourselves.
"When we see ourselves represented in the main screen, it really can be empowering and for so long there was only one group of people being represented."
Pitch Perfect writer and Blockers director Kay Cannon's new take on Cinderella imagines the title character as a keen dressmaker, who's more interested in forging her fashion career than in dating princes.
The cast of the film also includes Idina Menzel as the stepmother, Nicholas Galitzine as the prince and James Corden, Romesh Ranganathan and James Corden as mice, who become footmen at the ball.
Pierce Brosnan, with a fabulous moustache and beard combo, and Minnie Driver play the king and queen — parents of the prince.
The movie was originally put together by Sony for a cinematic release, but the project was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequently sold to Amazon to debut on its service.
Cinderella is available to stream via Amazon Prime Video from 3 September.
Watch: Trailer for Cinderella