Zendaya fights for equal audition opportunities

Equal opportunities are important across all industries and upon all forums, but especially so in the highly visual, visible and influential world of Hollywood.

And so for multi-hyphenate Zendaya, making sure all are considered for acting jobs is just one way to achieve equal access to opportunities and ultimately, equal representation. In a new interview in Marie Claire‘s September issue, Huffington Post reports that the 21 year old told Janet Mock that her process for auditioning is both intentional and barrier-breaking.

“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,'” she said. “And, honestly, if there’s a part that I didn’t get or that I really wanted at the time, shit always ends up working out.”

Using the example of her role as MJ in “Spiderman” as an example, HuffPost says while the role wasn’t written for a woman of color, Zendaya pressed forward for an audition.

“I definitely went into it like, ‘Hopefully they’ll’ ― as they call it in the industry ― ‘go ethnic,'” she said, according to HuffPost. “I remember making the decision to straighten my hair. I didn’t know that they were going to be more diverse in their casting. I didn’t know that I was walking into a situation where they were already breaking the rules. You get so used to having to break the rules for people.”

The is one type of rule breaking we’ll fully support! Click here to read the full interview.

Zendaya talks Hollywood, colorism at Beautycon

Zendaya has achieved quite a bit at a such a young age: at just 21, she has had starring roles in television shows and movies, dabbled in music and is even entered the world of fashion as a designer. But with all of her success comes a responsibility, says Zendaya, and that responsibility is to pave the way for her successors.

According to HuffPost, the multi-hyphenate recently spoke in conversation with Uber’s chief brand officer Bozoma Saint John at the Beautycon Festival, taking a moment to address colorism in the entertainment industry and share some sage words about representation.

“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,” she said, HuffPost reports. “I am Hollywood’s, I guess you could say, acceptable version of a black girl and that has to change.”

However, she said there is no need for there to only be one “acceptable version of a black girl.” In fact, she is trying to blaze a trail for increased representation and inspire others to shine their light in the process.

“We’re vastly too beautiful and too interesting for me to just be the only representation of that,” said Zendaya, according to HuffPost. “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.”

Amen to that.

Zendaya shares wisdom with young fans

In between promoting her new movie, The Greatest Showman, Zendaya took some time to  give advice to her youngest fans, and her words are exactly what we needed to hear.

According to Glamour, their November cover model shared in a video her experiences in working her way up through Hollywood as a young woman of color, as well as how her social media presence opened her eyes to the the weight of her own voice.

“As my social platforms grew, I realized that my voice was so much more important than I had originally thought,” she said in the five-minute video. “I think if every young person understood the power of their voice, things would be a lot different.”

When asked whether or not it was easy to follow her dreams, Zendaya explained that it’s never easy; in fact, it is quite the opposite.

“Following your dreams is never easy, really, because it’s gonna take work, and it’s gonna take dedication, and it’s gonna take focus, and it’s gonna take drive, but as long as you really love it and you really want it and you keep that laser focus, then nothing is impossible,” she said. “You got this.”

Thanks, Zendaya. We needed that. Hear more of what she has to say here.

Zendaya partners with ‘#WeNeedMore’ campaign

A career in engineering or technology is just as exciting as a career in Hollywood — that’s the message behind Zendaya’s new partnership with Verizon.

According to InStyle, the 20-year-old multi-hyphenate has teamed up with Verizon’s ‘#WeNeedMore’ campaign, which “encourages students to explore the many career possibilities that exist within STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.”

To help show students the kinds of careers possible, Zendaya brought a group of 13 and 14-year-olds to Capitol Studios to show how she records music, says InStyle, giving each of them a chance to sing with her and learn from audio engineer Joshua Florez how to edit and mix sound.

Inspired to participate in the project by her parents (who are teachers), Zendaya told InStyle that watching her mother push for educational technology in the classroom made her recognize the importance of those tools.

“I got to witness firsthand how much that can affect a young person, how much that can open their eyes to certain things that they may not even know exist at the time,” she explained.

And this program is no different, she told InStyle:

“It’s just kind of opening their eyes to other jobs, and other things that they can be involved in that maybe otherwise they wouldn’t even know exist, which I think is really cool…I’ve always been lucky that I’ve been able to have two parents that exposed me to that. But not every kid has that. Not every kid even has a teacher that’s going to go above and beyond to expose that to them. So that’s why programs like this are really important.”

Twitter user scores modeling job thanks to Zendaya

One Twitter user’s day — and possibly life — was completely changed, thanks to Zendaya.

According to The Cut, “Actress, activist, and burgeoning fashion mogul Zendaya caught sight of a nasty, body-shaming tweet on her timeline” that singled out a user with the Twitter handle “@_illestCee.”

After @_illestCee posted several photos of herself on the social networking site, another account mockingly warned people to “never trust a top half posting ass female,” says The Cut.

Noticing the negative comments, Zendaya not only called out the naysayer on her own Twitter while also complimenting the photos posted by @_illestCee, The Cut says Zendaya took her actions one step further, tweeting that she wanted to hire the woman to model for her Daya by Zendaya fashion line.

The woman behind @_illestCee replied saying she was “speechless,” and had always wanted to be a plus-size model.

She can now mark that dream as “complete.”

Zendaya launches new clothing line

First a shoe collection, and now a full clothing line —all brought to you by the always-fashionable Zendaya.

According to Vogue, the 20-year-old multi-hyphenate launched her new Daya by Zendaya clothing line on Friday, Nov. 4. Developed alongside personal stylist Law Roach, Vogue says that the collection is a reflection of her own street style, featuring everything from “casual tanks and easy white button-down blouse” to “cool look-at-me statement pieces” such as a “velvet green jumpsuit and blush pink slip dress with slinky side slits.”

One thing Zendaya makes sure the line is not, however, is trendy. Although this may sound counterintuitive, she explained it to Vogue this way:

“One thing Law and I really hate are trends…We just don’t believe in them, we don’t believe in what’s hot now because you can’t stay on top of all of the constant changes in fashion. It’s just impossible.”

In that vain, Zendaya told the magazine that her line is all about mixing and matching different pieces to create your own look.

“Clothes are supposed to be emotional. There is no right or wrong, no singular style,” she told Vogue. “I went through a phase as a teenager, and I think everyone does, when I actually gave a shit about what people thought. Ultimately I grew up and realized that was no fun.”

But that’s not the only worthwhile thing about the new collection. Vogue says pieces from the line start at $18 and goes up to $158 and even runs from sizes 0 to 22 — style for all budgets and sizes.

To shop the collection, click here.

Zendaya to star in new ‘Spider Man’ flick

As if a successful pursuits in acting, music and design weren’t enough, Zendaya is set to add another item to her growing resume.

According to the New York Daily News, The Wrap reported that the 19-year-old will play Mary Jane Watson in the forthcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming film. Zendaya inherits the role from Kirsten Dunst, who played Watson in the Sam Raimi trilogy between 2002 and 2007, says the News.

While her involvement in the film was announced in Marchthe News says it was well-concealed by reports saying Zendaya would play a character named Michelle.

Other big names in Hollywood are set to the share the screen with Zendaya, according to the News, including comedian Hannibal Buress, actress Marisa Tomei and actor Michael Keaton, as well as “British actor Tom Holland, who will take on the role of young Spidey, Peter Parker.”

Fans will, however, have to wait until next summer to catch the blockbuster, as the News reports that it will hit theaters on July 7, 2017.

New styles for ‘Daya by Zendaya’

Following the initial release of her new shoe collection, Zendaya is already teasing new styles for the line — and they can’t be released fast enough.

According to InStyle, the 19-year-old multi-hyphenate took to Instagram to share an inside look at the new styles that are set to be included in her “Daya by Zendaya” shoe collection.

A caption simply saying, “So much to come” accompanied a video that panned over “some gorgeous over-the-knee stiletto boots, peep-toe mules, military-style lace-up booties, and many more fierce pairs,” reports InStyle.

The line, available at Nordstrom, retails between $70 and $110, offering luxurious styles and trendy looks for much less than pricey designer pieces.

To shop currently available styles — or to keep an eye out for those looks yet to come! — click here.

Luxe for less by Zendaya

Luxury doesn’t have to cost a fortune — that seems to be the motto of Zendaya‘s new shoe line.

According to InStyle, the 19-year-old actress recently launched a new shoe collection called “Daya by Zendaya,” which offers of-the-moment styles at affordable prices. Available at Nordstrom, InStyle says the line ranges in price from $70 to $110, holding true to its mission of providing luxurious looks for less.

Speaking on the importance of creating an affordable line, Zendaya told InStyle, “The average woman can not just go out and buy however many Christian Louboutins they want … But they want that luxury and they want that feeling, and I think they deserve that as well.”

But when it comes to her source of inspiration when designing the line, she said she had her family in mind. “I was inspired by the women in my life,” she told InStyle, “my oldest sister, my niece, my little nieces who will soon be wearing heels, you know, because they’re all working women who are either in college, or a mother, or a young girl who is still in school and about to go to her first school dance.”

Featuring pointed-toe heels, trendy lace-ups and heeled booties, Zendaya worked with her personal stylist, Law Roach, to create the diverse, yet trendy offering, according to InStyle, making sure that the line reflects her unique fashion aesthetic.

Always one to create “fashion moments,” Zendaya told InStyle that her shoe line not only reflects that point of view, it also aims to excite people about fashion. “We don’t have rules or any really rhyme or reason as to why we do things,” she said to InStyle. “We just do it because it feels good, and I think that’s how people should just dress in general.”

To shop Zendaya’s new line — or to drool over the designs from afar — head over to Nordstrom now.

Happy Shopping!

‘For the Girls,’ By the Girls

When eight top female singers unite to record one song, you know it’s for a good reason — and First Lady Michelle Obama was able to convene the powerhouses for a very special project ahead of her SXSW appearance.

According to TIME, the First Lady released a song titled, “This Is For My Girls,” on Wednesday, March 16 just before her SXSW Music Keynote Conversation. The song, penned by legendary songwriter Diane Warren, features not only singers like Kelly Clarkson and Lea Michele, but also Missy Elliott, Zendaya, Janelle Monaé, Jada Grace, Kelly Rowland and Chloe x Halle.

Done in a collaboration with AOL’s Makers series, TIME says that the track aims to “promote her Let Girls Learn initiative, which helps provide access to education to the estimated 62 million girls around the world without schooling.”

All proceeds from the track will be donated to the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund, which aids in giving “adolescent girls get the secondary education they deserve.”

To listen to “This Is For My Girls” or to download the track, check out Itunes here.