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The world can't get enough of Zendaya. She's lauded in the Fashion world for her ability to bring any red carpet to life. She's revered by teens and pre-teens alike. And now, thanks to a Vogue cover debut and interview, there are a million more reasons that prove exactly why Zendaya is truly on her way to the top.
For the story, Vogue's Abby Aguirre spent time with the young star, talking about everything from knowing your power to her adorable dog and Zac Efron. Here are our favorite takeaways from the piece.
1. At the age of 16, Zendaya met with the heads of Disney Channel to lay out a list of particular demands before she agreed to star in K.C. Undercover, including that the show featured a family of color.
There were other conditions: “I wanted to make sure that she wasn’t good at singing or acting or dancing. That she wasn’t artistically inclined. I didn’t want them to all of a sudden be like, ‘Oh, yeah, and then she sings this episode!’ No. She can’t dance; she can’t sing. She can’t do that stuff. There are other things that a girl can be.” Zendaya issued some final requirements: “I want her to be martial arts–trained. I want her to be able to do everything that a guy can do. I want her to be just as smart as everybody else. I want her to be a brainiac. I want her to be able to think on her feet. But I also want her to be socially awkward, not a cool kid. I want her to be normal with an extraordinary life.”
2. In the face of racist comments regarding her hair, she's proven she isn't afraid to stand up for herself and those she looks up to.
After yelling at the TV, Zendaya recalls, “I went to my room, gathered my thoughts, and wrote something down, which is what two teachers would have wanted me to do.” Her response came that night,. “There is a fine line between what is funny and disrespectful,” she wrote. “I’ll have you know my father, brother, best childhood friend, and little cousins all have locs.” The Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay and Harvard professor Vincent Brown do, too, she noted, along with many other luminaries. “My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough. To me locs are a symbol of strength and beauty, almost like a lion’s mane.”
3. She owns quite possibly the world's most adorable dog, a miniature black schnauzer named Noon.
4. Zendaya is a better trapeze artist than Zac Efron
In The Greatest Showman, Zendaya plays a trapeze artist with whom Efron’s character falls in love. Before reading for the part, she recorded one of the film’s songs at home and sent it to the director, Michael Gracey. “She blew me away,” Gracey says, noting the effortless nature of her talent. On set, Zendaya insisted on doing the trapeze work herself. “I would shout out a direction or give the slightest adjustment, and while flying through the air, she’d do it.” Efron was impressed by her resilience during rehearsal. “While I was wincing in pain and covering myself in Tiger Balm and KT tape, Zendaya would move to her next scene completely unfazed.”
5. She's in the process of developing a film about Black Panther activist Angela Davis
Right now she is helping to conceive what may be the final season of K.C. Undercover, discussing with the show’s writers how best to do an episode about stop-and-frisk in a way that kids will understand. Zendaya isn’t sure what the next step in her film metamorphosis will be. She hasn’t yet signed on to any future movies. Drawn back to her origins, she’s been thinking about how she might develop a project about another longtime Oakland resident: Angela Davis.
May the slay continue forever and always, amen.