Zendaya is the star of this month’s issue of Glamour magazine, in an interview conducted by co-star and industry buddy Yara shahidi she talks about Disney, Blackness, Beyonce and transitioning from a Disney star to other scenes.
She also talks about her father quitting his job in Oakland and moving to Los Angeles to help achieve her dream.
YARA SHAHIDI: Let’s take it all the way back. How did you end up moving to Los Angeles from Oakland as a middle-schooler to act?
ZENDAYA: I was basically like, “I want to do this,” and my dad quit his job as a teacher to make it happen. My mom stayed in Oakland because she had two jobs: teaching, and working at the California Shakespeare Theater at night. Those two jobs paid for all of our car trips back and forth for the year I was auditioning. Luckily I had parents who were like, “You know what? We believe in you.” I got my first job on the Disney Channel when I was 13, and it was just me and my dad in an apartment in downtown L.A. It was very difficult because I was dealing with all the pivotal girl moments. I remember getting my period and him not knowing what to do. It was a weird transitional phase.
YARA: You mentioned how your mama had to move between two jobs to help you achieve your dreams. What does this powered-by-women issue [produced by female contributors] mean to you?
ZENDAYA: What I’ve learned most from my mom is selflessness. She taught in underprivileged communities for 20 years, and she worked her ass off to get her students to have experiences like outdoor science camp. There are students who will tell you, “Without Ms. Stoermer, I don’t know where I’d be.”
YARA: Our generation has a lot going on right now: from North Korea to Charlottesville—
ZENDAYA: It’s insane.
YARA: It’s slightly insane.
ZENDAYA: Here’s the thing—I can genuinely say that I’m not the same person I was a year ago. As my social platforms grew, I realised that my voice was so much more important than I had originally thought. I think if every young person understood the power of their voice, things would be a lot different. And it’s becoming more popular to be outspoken.
YARA: You’ve described yourself as the love child of Oprah, Shonda Rhimes, and Beyoncé. Let’s go into Shonda…
ZENDAYA: I mean, Shonda—she saw something nobody else was doing and said, “I’m going to create it myself. I’m going to put strong, powerful women of color in lead roles and create narratives for different types of people.” And she owns a day. She owns Thursdays
ZENDAYA: And then, Beyoncé. She took it to the next level with Lemonade. She’s got twins, and she’s banging. She’s killing it. And, of course, Michelle Obama, because that is an intelligent woman.
YARA: She’s the forty-sixth president that I recognize.
ZENDAYA: She’s my president. Who is going to convince her to run?
Photography: Emma Summerton
Styling: Jillian Davidson
Hair: Jennifer Yepez
Makeup: Rachel Goodwin
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