‘You can­not be wor­ried about what peo­ple think, or you’re go­ing to be afraid to try any­thing’

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - CELEBRITY -

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.’

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