‘You cannot be worried about what people think, or you’re going to be afraid to try anything’
realised how easy it was for me to adapt to both. I’m proud of both a d I a t i to a y i d of s e ario or situatio .’
There’s something refreshing about a 19-year-old who can ta e responsibility for big issues and still act her age in an industry lled with child stars growing up too fast and aming out. ut she’s also uic to point out that she’s not a id any more. ‘I’m grown, and I pay my own way,’ says Zendaya, who released her eponymous rst album in 1 at only 1 . s a recording artist, she’s e panding her fan base of Zswaggers who now her from Disney Channel’s K.C. Undercover and Shake It Up. ‘There’s only so much you can tal about at 1 , 1 . ow I can honestly sing about being in love with someone and with yourself,’ she says.
Currently, she’s putting the nishing touches on her second album, due out later this year, featuring the single ‘ omething ew’. ‘I wanna try something new, all night,’ she sings provocatively on the trac . hile those lyrics might seem at odds with her wholesome Disney image, she o ers Trying something new could mean a new dance move. ou can ma e any song as suggestive as you want it to be, she says smoothly. You open it for people to decide what they want to ma e it.
See how she did that? The girl is savvy, but she’s also sincere. She doesn’t see the point in being vulgar. (‘Dang’ is her expletive of choice.)
Recently, TMZ lmed her father by her side leaving a rammys after-party, along with her date, ew Yor iants star dell ec ham r, who she denies dating. as it embarrassing to have a chaperone? ‘Here’s the thing. If a guy can handle my dad the rst time, then he’s worth giving my time to. If he can’t, then I might as well not waste my time. ust because they’re in the doesn’t mean they get a pass.’
The truth is, Zendaya is pretty good at watching out for herself. She spea s up for young people voting, and against airbrushing (li e when Modeliste magazine digitally slimmed down her body in an image). In 1 , after E! Fashion Police host iuliana Rancic said that Zendaya’s scar-night faux dreadloc s made her thin of weed, the star issued a statement pointing out the racial implications of the insult. ‘I have been taught that if you have a voice, you should use it,’ she says. ‘Having millions of Twitter and Instagram followers is a gift. That’s something you’re supposed to use for something bigger than yourself.’
Having graduated from high school last year, Zendaya is a class apart when it comes to her personal style. Top designers want to dress her, fans create Pinterest pages documenting her every out t, and she has her own popular TD (‘loo of the day’) Tumblr. s varied as her loo s can be, her fashion philosophy can be summed up in one word con dence.
‘You cannot be worried about what people thin , or you’re going to be afraid to try anything,’ she says. She’s de nitely not afraid – moving from former Disney star to being cast in next year’s Spider-Man. Recently named a face of US cosmetics brand Cover irl, she counts Cher and David owie among her style in uences. ‘I wore a frea ing mullet to the rammys. I felt li e I was illing it. nd I was. That’s all that should matter when you step out, whether you’re on the red carpet or just living life on a day-today basis.’
huge fan of Shonda Rhimes, Zendaya is determined to ma e her own social statement as a producer on K.C. Undercover, which recently began its second season. ‘ big reason why I wanted to come bac to Disney is because I saw a lac of diversity on the channel,’ she says. ‘To see a blac family, to see a young girl with these adorable fro pu s little things li e that are so important.’ ( s for going blonde for her new album, she says, ‘I’ve been obsessed with female roc ers from the s li e Debbie Harry and Pat enatar. The wigs and di erent hairstyles are inspired by them.’)
Her love for changing up her hairstyle saw her wearing braids for eyonc ’s visual album Lemonade. She said of the video in an Instagram post, ‘ ne of the most beautiful things I’ve ever had the honour of being part of lac . irl. agic.’ In the picture, she’s seated with eyonc , actor mandla Stenberg and other in uential blac women – a visual of the strength and stature of these icons.
So where is she headed? ‘Producer’ seems li e a natural calling, as does ‘designer’, with her Daya y Zendaya shoe collection. et’s just say she has options. ‘ hile my career is still thriving, I would li e to ride my wave,’ she says. ‘ aybe I’ll go to some Ivy eague dope school and just come out being a dang doctor. nd then I’ll run for o ce.’