A Full List of Zendaya's Most Inspiring Moments
Zendaya is amazing.
Along with being a major talent in the entertainment world, she's also an incredible role model. She's wonderfully honest with her fans, and she's not afraid to stand up for what's right.
If you love Zendaya as much as we do, keep scrolling for a full list of her most inspiring moments.
Winning An Emmy
Of course, we have to start with Zendaya's most recent inspiring moment: winning an Emmy. During the 2020 Emmys, Zendaya snagged the award for Best Lead Actress in a Drama for her role as Rue in Euphoria. She beat out other, bigger names like Jennifer Aniston, Sandra Oh and Laura Linney. Plus, she was the youngest actress to ever win the award. Now that's inspiring.
Bringing Diversity to Disney Channel
Zendaya first made her mark on the entertainment world when she starred in the Disney Channel series Shake It Up alongside Bella Thorne. When that series came to an end, Zendaya could have moved on to bigger and better things. Instead, she chose to pursue another show on Disney Channel—K.C. Undercover. Zendaya later explained that she decided to take on the second show because she wanted to maintain diversity on the Disney Channel. She told Variety, "When I left Disney, there weren't any families of color on the channel. That was a big reason why I wanted to come back. I think I've successfully made a show that not only allows for representation, but sees girls in a powerful and strong position."
Calling Out Photoshop
All the way back in 2015, when Zendaya was just 19 years old, she was already proving to the world that she was wise beyond her years. As stars do, Zendaya participated in a photoshoot for Modeliste Magazine. But when the pictures came out, she wasn't happy. She took to Instagram and called out the magazine for photoshopping, posting a picture of the unedited photos alongside the ones that appeared in the publication. She also called out the unrealistic beauty standards photoshopping creates in her caption and asserted her idea of "honest and pure self-love."
Standing Up to the Fashion Police
Zendaya has embraced a variety of show-stopping looks over the years, not the least of which was the period of time where she sported dreadlocks. While most people think she looked like an absolute queen, Guiliana Rancic made fun of her look on Fashion Police with a few highly offensive and insensitive remarks. Instead of backing down or letting the comment slide, Zendaya took to her Instagram and posted a statement about the long cultural history of locs. She condemned Rancic's comments and made it clear that "locs are a symbol of strength and beauty." Lesson learned: If you say something offensive, Zendaya will surely be there to call you out.
Taking Social Media Breaks
Zendaya is one of the biggest stars in the world. In theory, she could post on her Instagram multiple times each day and get millions of likes. But instead of caving to the pressures of social media, Zendaya has been honest about the fact that she often needs time away from the platforms. Zendaya has talked freely about the "social media black hole" we all get sucked into at one point or another. But she has also told her fans that she often takes a step away to give herself a chance to focus on reality, rather than a screen. Her responsible social media behavior encourages everyone to do better.
Staying True to Real Characters
On more than one occasion, Zendaya has discussed the importance of portraying complex characters onscreen. In her Disney Channel show K.C. Undercover, Zendaya refused to allow the executives in charge to turn K.C. into a girly-girl. Instead, Zendaya insisted that she be a real person—a girl trained in martial arts, who also struggles to avoid embarrassing herself in her day-to-day life.
She made the same point when she played Michelle in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Although she had a minor role in the first movie, she knew that she would eventually grow into the famous M.J.. However, she made it clear that she never wanted Michelle to lose her weirdness. Playing female characters with depth and varied interests is important to Zendaya, and she continues to make it a priority in her work.
Praising Her Parents
While Zendaya is massively successful, she always brings the things she has learned back to her parents. Not only has she defended her parents from trolls online, but she has also named her parents as her biggest role models. Even though she is skyrocketing to higher and higher levels of fame, Zendaya continues to stress that family is most important to her, and that she wouldn't be where she is today without them.
Acknowledging the Person Above the Craft
No one could accuse Zendaya of not taking her work seriously. But the star has made it clear that, while her work is important to her, being a good person is much more important. In an interview, she told fans that she wanted to be acknowledged for her art, but that she would rather be respected as a human being above an artist. She went on to say that it's better to be a good person, rather than focusing all your energy on being famous.
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