5 reasons we want to be best friends with Zendaya (in honour of her birthday)

We're obsessed

By Tegan Mouton

5 reasons we want to be best friends with Zendaya (in honour of her birthday)

Zendaya

Zendaya is one of Hollywood’s up-and-coming young talents with a growing resume of incredible achievements in the entertainment industry, and I for one am a bit obsessed with her.

Whether it’s her super down-to-earth approach to being a celebrity, her killer red carpet looks or her actual talents, there’s a lot to like about the star. So, in honour of the triple threat’s 24th birthday, here’s our round-up of reasons we want to be best friends with Zendaya.

She’s transitioned from Disney child star to a critically acclaimed Emmy-nominee effortlessly

It’s a leap that a lot of Disney stars haven’t been able to pull off, but Zendaya used the leverage that her start on the Disney channel gave her and graduated into a higher calibre of film and TV roles. After initially starting off as Rocky Blue in Disney’s Shake it Off when she was 13, she then moved on to the role of K.C Cooper in K.C. Undercover, a character that she actually helped name and craft. Once she left Disney, she branched out into other exciting projects.

It’s also worth mentioning that the actress has managed to avoid the drug addiction/ party days scandals of other former Disney stars, rather focusing her time and effort on her craft and moving on to major productions like The Greatest Showman, Spiderman, Euphoria and Dune.

She’s true to herself, and not afraid to speak up

Zendaya is never afraid to set a story straight when it comes to tabloid-esque Hollywood drama, just as she proved with a controversy that emerged at the 2015 Oscars when she was just 18. The star walked the red carpet in a white silk gown, with her hair in dreadlocks. Later, E’s Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic stated on air that, “That hair is swallowing her. I feel like she smells like patchouli oil, or weed”.

The star quickly responded to the controversy with a poignant message that tackled the historic persecution of black hair. We love her classy and mature response to the whole situation.

Her flawless red carpet style makes us drool

There’s not a whole lot to say here except that Zendaya may be one of our favourite Gen Z stars on the red carpet, and for such a young celeb she’s racked up an impressive list of looks. My favourites have to be the iconic Tom Ford breastplate she wore to the Critic’s Shows Awards last year, or the Armani suit she wore to Paris Couture Fashion Week, but I could make a list a mile long.

She’s challenging the status quo of Hollywood type casting and white washing

Zendaya has been vocal about her desire to increase representation of the black community onscreen, and she’s been pushing for it since her Disney Channel days. When she was offered her K.C. Undercover role at age 16, she agreed on the condition that her character have a black family, later telling Glamour: “A lot of people who aren’t people of colour can’t quite understand what it’s like to grow up and not see yourself in mainstream media.”

She’s also made a point of auditioning for roles that are aimed towards white actresses, telling Marie Claire in 2018 that, “I always tell my theatrical manager, ‘Anytime it says they’re looking for white girls, send me out. Let me get in the room. Maybe they’ll change their minds.’”

In fact, Marvel fans will remember the bizarre controversy that followed her being cast as Mary-Jane Watson, Spiderman’s famous love interest and a historically white character, but no one can deny that she’s rocked the role perfectly in the last two Spiderman films.

On top of that she’s also made a point of calling out colourism within Hollywood’s casting of black women, and at BeautyCon 2018 she was quoted saying: “I am Hollywood’s, I guess you could say, acceptable version of a black girl, and that needs to change. We’re vastly too beautiful and too interesting for me to be the only representation of that.”

Euphoria, Euphoria, Euphoria

I’m a bit biased because this show was one of my top three series of 2019 (and I loooove the glitter makeup trend it’s inspired) but Zendaya’s performance of lead character and drug addict Rue Bennet was one of the most incredible TV appearances in recent years, and the fact that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted production of season two has me really upset. I’m thrilled for the star that she’s been nominated for her first Emmy Award as a result, and I can’t wait to see what she does with the character next. Check out a clip of her amazing, gritty performance below.

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