Zendaya made her start on the Disney Channel but over the years has proven herself as a businesswoman who is capable of far more goodness than the Disney Channel had to offer.
Zendaya may only be 22 years of age now but she has already sown her roots in the industry and proven to be in it for the long haul. With her strong leading abilities and strong will to be in control of her own career, we should all aspire to be more like Zendaya in our work environments and everyday lives.
As an actor, Zendaya has proven herself as a strong female willing to make a stand and carve her own career path.
Her strong will and sense of self is what drove her to go up against Disney executives and demand for more diversity within their programmes. Her starring role in K. C Undercover did not come without conditions… for Disney.
She wanted to be made a producer of the show as well as having many notes about the lead character. Zendaya wished to deviate from the normal Disney framework for characters by making her character, K. C Cooper, martial-arts trained and smart and capable of doing everything a man can do. She refused to play a character who is good at singing and dancing who breaks out into song to showcase her artistically inclined talents. The character she was seeking to play was a powerful female who was capable of extraordinary things.
She was also insistent on making the family one of colour within the show.
Beyond Disney Channel, she evolved into a sought out star. Landing a starring role in the new Spider-Man, Spider-Man: Homecoming, provided her with the breakout role she needed to put herself on the map as a serious actor.
Her audition was notable due to her dressing down for the role, showing up with no make-up on in order to showcase herself as a normal girl who would be perfect for the role being cast.
Her ability to transform for roles while also maintaining her independence and strong-willed ideas about how she wants to be represented.
Zendaya may be young, but she is very vocal about her views.
She spoke out against racism after she herself was a victim at the age of 18 at the Academy Awards when she chose to wear her hair in dreadlocks.
One of the hosts of E! Spoke about her look the next day and commented that she probably smells like patchouli oil or weed, associating her look with negative stereotypes of the black community.
Zendaya responded to the comments with a carefully thought out post on social media outlining how wrong and ignorant the comments were, gaining a large amount of support from others in the black community as well as the general public. Following an apology for the ignorant comments, Zendaya responded with great maturity and accepted the apology having already used this as a teaching moment.
It is also no surprise that Zendaya is a very outspoken feminist, always hoping to inspire others and speaking out against injustices. She believes strongly that there should be equality and fairness among the sexes, always advocating for her own independence and ability to make choices.
She is not afraid of speaking up for what she believes in and operates under the knowledge that by speaking up she can only do good.
Zendaya has always been a fashion icon and someone very interested in her look. Her latest fashion triumph comes in the form of a Zendaya x Tommy Hilfiger collaboration where she was able to create her own collection and Hilfiger encouraged her to take the lead.
The fashion show she put on with this encouragement to do what she felt was right to represent her line was something to be remembered.
The catwalk featured an all-black model line up with massive stars who Zendaya herself looked up to. The ages of these models ranged from 18 to 70, showcasing a range of inspirational figures from all different walks of life. She wanted to celebrate the women who gave her the strength and courage to be a boss and carve her own path in this wonderful coming together of popular figures.
The collection itself is very authentic, showing Motown fashions modelled on women who deviate from the old-school models and show a healthier and real image.
This very publicised chance to show off her fashion sense and capability to create her own line only mark the beginning of her colourful career in fashion.
The influence Zendaya has had means a lot for the future of young people and the black community.
Zendaya’s determination and unwillingness to compromise when it comes to her roles and the way she is represented give others the inspiration to also take their future into their own hands.
Seeing a woman of colour succeed at such a young age and be so open and outspoken is a massive influence for others out there who might need to see someone else succeed before they build up the courage to do the same.