Zendaya is the epitome of Gen Z. As a Disney celebrity, many young children were introduced to the multi-talented actor. She began her acting career opposite Bella Thorne in the Disney series Shake It Up. For three seasons, the two acted as on-screen friends.
Zendaya capitalized on her popularity by starring in K.C. Undercover, a Disney series. Super Awesome Katy, according to the actor, was a potential initial title for the show. “Do I look like a Katy to you?” the actor asked execs after calling the title “crazy.”
On and off the screen, her strong spirit helped her become a star. According to Cosmopolitan, the actress finished her Disney roles in 2018 and moved on to films, television, and music.
Zendaya, like a slew of other “House of Mouse” superstars, rose to prominence swiftly. In the 2017 film Spider-Man: Homecoming, she reprised her role as MJ with Tom Holland.
She also played Rue, a damaged Gen Z’er, in HBO’s brutal series Euphoria. She was successful in fashion and other endeavors off-screen as well. She also accepted the obligations that come with being a generation’s spokesperson.
Which of the former Disney star’s roles is your favorite? It’s time to go incognito and uncover Zendaya’s hidden secrets.
Table of Contents
1. Who is Zendaya?
Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman is an American actress and singer who was born on September 1, 1996, to Claire Stoermer and Kazembe Ajamu Coleman in Oakland, California.
Her father is of African-American descent from Arkansas, while her mother is of German and Scottish descent. Zendaya has five elder siblings. Her name comes from the Shona name Tendai, which means “to give thanks.”
Her mother had worked as a teacher at Fruitvale Elementary School for two decades. She and two schoolmates performed for Black History Month when she was six years old.
Her mother labored as the house manager at the adjacent California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda, where she grew up as a performer. She assisted guests in finding seats, sold fundraising tickets, and was motivated to pursue acting after seeing the theatrical performances.
Zendaya was a part of Future Shock Oakland, a hip-hop dance ensemble, for three years when she was eight years old. She also spent two years with the Academy of Hawaiian Arts, where she learned to dance the hula.
Zendaya went to Oakland School for the Arts and was cast in various roles in local theaters while she was still a student. She played Little Ti Moune in Once on This Island at the Berkeley Playhouse, and she played Joe in Caroline, or Change at TheaterWorks in Palo Alto, a character who was initially written as a man.
The 11-year-old Zendaya’s performance was described as “pure pleasure” by Keith Kreitman of the San Mateo Daily Journal, who reviewed the film. She went to the American Conservatory Theater and the CalShakes Conservatory.
She has been in several of Shakespeare’s plays on stage. She appeared in Richard III as Lady Anne, in As You Like It as Celia, and in the Twelfth Night as a member of the cast. The family relocated to Los Angeles when Zendaya was in seventh grade. She graduated from Oak Park High School in 2015 while pursuing her performing career.
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2. Career of Zendaya
Zendaya began her career as a model, working for firms like Macy’s and Old Navy, in contrast to her theatrical work. Selena Gomez’s backup dancer in a Sears commercial was Zendaya. She subsequently decided to go by her first name only in professional settings.
With the premiere of Shake It Up on Disney Channel in 2010, Zendaya’s career took off. “A buddy comedy about two best friends who dream of being professional dancers and eventually get their chance when they get to audition for their favorite show,” the then-14-year-old performer told McClatchy-Tribune Business News about the performance.
To their tween fan base, Zendaya and her co-star Bella Thorne became tween idols. The songs they performed on the show, such as “Something to Dance For,” were huge hits with their target audience, and their two characters became so well-known that they inspired their clothing line.
Zendaya has also contributed her voice to the animated television film Pixie Hollow Games, which is not related to her famous program (2011). She has appeared as a guest star on shows including A.N.T. Farm and Good Luck Charlie and acted alongside Thorne in the 2012 television film Frenemies.
Zendaya changed from the fictional dancing competition to the popular televised competition Dancing with the Stars in 2013. In the competition, she battled against celebrities like Andy Dick, Kellie Pickler, and Aly Raisman, and was paired with professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy.
Her prior experience, on the other hand, was of limited utility. According to her comments on Good Morning America, “Hip-hop dancing is something I’m used to… As a result, I’ll have to discard all I’ve learned and start over.”
Following Dancing With the Stars, Zendaya featured in three seasons of the Disney comedy K.C. Undercover before making her big-screen debut in 2017 with Spider-Man: Homecoming and The Greatest Showman, in which she played Anne Wheeler alongside Hugh Jackman.
Zendaya voiced two animated features in 2018: Duck Duck Goose and Smallfoot. In 2019, she played Michelle “M.J.” Jones again in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Zendaya enrolled for the lead role of Rue in the HBO series Euphoria, a move that distances her from her Disney image. The show attracted interest ahead of its June 2019 premiere for its frank representations of juvenile drug use and sexuality, as it was based on writer Sam Levinson’s chaotic adolescent years.
Zendaya said of the show’s controversial content in an interview with The New York Times: “To be honest, I’m not surprised. It will be done. I expected it to be divisive, and I was prepared for that. It exists, whether or not people like it. Someone’s story is being told to me. Since it hasn’t happened to you yet doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened to others.”
The actress won Best Drama TV Star and Best Female Movie Star at the People’s Choice Awards in November 2019, for her roles in Euphoria and Spider-Man: Far From Home. She became the youngest person ever to win an Emmy for Best Lead Actress at the 72nd Emmy Awards in September 2020.
3. Relationship Between Zendaya and Tom Holland
Offscreen love is the only thing better than onscreen love! Tom Holland and Zendaya are one of the most well-known couples in Hollywood, but they choose to keep their relationship private.
It is often tough for fans to tell whether they’re still dating because they’re usually quiet about their relationship. Fans speculated that the couple might tie the knot in late 2021.
Zendaya finally included Tom on her Instagram page ahead of the release of their film Spider-Man: No Way Home, after Tom had previously shared a few admiring images of the Disney Channel alum.
“My Spider-Man, I’m so proud of you,” she wrote in an Instagram post that included a shot of Tom on the set of their film as well as a photo of him as a toddler dressed as Spider-Man. “Some things don’t change, which is a good thing.”
Just a month later, in January 2022, the Euphoria actress commented on Tom’s Instagram post including photographs from a Prada marketing campaign. The Cherry actor titled his Instagram slideshow image, “Undress with @prada,” to which Zendaya replied with many heart-eye emojis.
Tom had responded to several of Zendaya’s Instagram pictures by March 2022, like this one from a photo session she had posted on March 3. “One of my all-time fave shots,” she captioned the photo, while her boyfriend left a response with three heart-eyed emojis.
On that exact day, she shared another professional photo of herself, which her beau complimented with three fire emojis.
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4. Music Career and Novel
In 2012, Zendaya secured a recording deal with Hollywood Records, and the following year, she released her self-titled studio album.
Even though her follow-up album has yet to be released, she collaborated with Chris Brown on the single “Something New” in 2016 and contributed “Rewrite the Stars” to the soundtrack of The Greatest Showman. Between U and Me, Zendaya’s debut book was published in 2013, and it contains guidance for her young followers.