Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ was so top-secret that even the people involved had no idea what they signed up for or who was behind it

Winnie harlow lemonade beyonce

In the days leading up to the release of Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” special on HBO, no one knew what to expect. But fans weren’t the only ones unaware: even those involved initially had no idea what they had signed up for.

In an interview with W Magazine, former “America’s Next Top Model” contestant and model Winnie Harlow explained that she almost turned down Beyoncé because she didn’t know what the project was.

“Well, I was actually contacted by their team a couple weeks prior, but my agent at the time didn’t get back to them because they wouldn’t tell us much about the project,” she said.

Thanks to a mutual friend Harlow was contacted again, and this time she accepted right away.

“A friend of a friend of mine works super closely with Beyoncé,” she said. “She asked her for my number, gave me a call, and didn’t really say much other than, ‘Beyoncé wants you. Can you fly to New Orleans tomorrow?’ Really, who can say no to that!”

Harlow flew to Louisiana after a guest-judging stint on “Germany’s Next Top Model,” and joined a roster of celebrities and influential women including Serena Williams, Zendaya, Amandla Sternberg, Quvenzhané Wallis, and musical sister duo Ibeyi to film scenes for the song “Freedom.” Harlow is also in a scene for “Forward.”

After her time on set, the model thanked Beyoncé and her mother for the experience.

“I wanted to thank her for acknowledging me as a strong black woman, and for uplifting and continuing to empower us all,” she said. “That made her so happy. She said that’s exactly what she wanted to do, and feels even more responsible now that she has Blue. I’m so happy to be a part of her iconic story now.”

The surprise “Lemonade” release on Tidal follows Beyoncé’s surprise 2013 album. “Lemonade” can be streamed on Tidal and purchased on iTunes.

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