The Greatest Showman star Zendaya opened up to Marie Claire magazine this week about her career and the struggles around it. The nearly 22-year-old appeared on the front cover of this month’s magazine and dished it all.
“What my white peers would be able to get away with at this point in their career is not something that I will be able to do. And I knew that from when I was real young. That’s just the truth, and so you’ll be kind of afraid of making mistakes because I love what I do. I don’t want to jeopardize it at any point because I am not allowed the room to mess up,” Zendaya explained to the magazine.
Earlier this year she appeared at New York’s Beautycon to discuss race in Hollywood and the issues she deals with. “As a black woman, as a light-skinned black woman, it’s important that I’m using my privilege, my platform, to show you how much beauty there is in the African-American community. 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. What I’m saying—it’s about creating those opportunities. Sometimes you have to create those paths. And that’s with anything: Hollywood, art, whatever.”
Wanting to break down racial barriers in Hollywood, Zendaya has been putting more focus on her acting recently, setting her singing career aside. She went on to tell the magazine that she tells her managers to send her out on roles that ask for white actresses. “Let me get in the room. Maybe they’ll change their minds,” she said.
Zendaya started her career at 14 acting on Disney Channel shows. Unlike other Disney stars that gain notoriety for a wide array of controversies, she has grown more and more into being a great role model for young girls everywhere.
When Giuliana Rancic made fun of her hair at the Oscars a few years back, she released a bitingly honest statement without even calling out the Fashion Police host. “There is a fine line between what is funny and disrespectful,” she wrote according to People. “Someone said something about my hair at the Oscars that left me in awe. Not because I was relishing in rave outfit reviews, but because I was hit with ignorant slurs and pure disrespect.”
Zendaya’s career continues to grow and it is clear she deserves it. She is currently filming the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming.