Zendaya, teen star turned jack-of-all-trades icon | TV5MONDE

Zendaya, teen star turned jack-of-all-trades icon | TV5MONDE
Zendaya, teen star turned jack-of-all-trades icon | TV5MONDE

From film to fashion to music, Zendaya seems to excel at everything. At 27, the American artist has gone from teen star to one of the most influential figures of her generation.

Starring in two hit films this year, “Dune 2” and “Challengers,” the actress, also a singer, model, dancer and producer, took on the role of co-host of the Met Gala earlier this week at New York, high point of fashion and show biz.

For the occasion, she offered herself the privilege of making two entrances, with two different looks. A choice which did not fail to panic the web and was praised by critics, accustomed to commenting on the clothing outings of the one who is often described as a “fashion icon”.

But his references don’t stop there. Zendaya became the youngest artist to win best actress in a drama series at the Emmy Awards in 2020, at 24, for her role in “Euphoria”. This award will also come to him in 2022.

Still for this role, she won a Golden Globe in 2023. The same year, she made an appearance on the stage of the famous Coachella music festival, in the Californian desert.

“He’s a cultural icon in the making,” Denis Villeneuve, director of “Dune,” declared in 2022. “Zendaya is timeless, and she can do anything.”

Unhealthy shyness

Zendaya Coleman was born in 1996 in California. When she was little, she suffered from unhealthy shyness, according to her parents, both teachers.

Her mother works a second job in a theater in Oakland. After trying her hand at basketball or football, that’s when young Zendaya had a revelation.

“She begged me to take her there,” her mother recalled in 2021. On stage, Zendaya transforms.

After a few plays, her parents accompanied her to Los Angeles so she could try her luck. At 14, she landed a role in the Disney Channel series “Shake It Up”. At 17, she released an album.

She then made her film debut in successful feature films like “The Greatest Showman” (2017), or “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017), where she met Tom Holland, with whom she now forms a star couple with a discreet image, adored by fans.

Then the series “Euphoria” and the character of Rue, a teenager scarred by her addictions, established her as one of the most promising actresses of her generation.

At the same time, Zendaya is withdrawing from the music scene. In April, she half-heartedly expressed her reluctance towards this industry, but did not close the door to a return: “I’ll maybe release a little song, maybe”.

– “Acceptable version” –

Beyond his talent, it is his image that seduces. Zendaya “possesses a level of grace and authenticity that restores hope for the generation for which she is paving the way,” wrote the American fashion magazine Essence in 2020.

The actress maintains an image of humility and commitment. From her time at Disney in the 2010s, she insisted on the inclusion of a black family in the series “Agent KC”, in which she starred.

At 21, she openly criticizes the beauty standards of the entertainment industry. “I am the acceptable Hollywood version of a black girl,” says the one whose mother is white and whose father is black.

“As a light-skinned Black woman, it’s important that I use my privilege, my position, to show how beautiful the African American community is,” she continues.

Invited to collaborate with designer Tommy Hilfiger in 2019, she chose a casting of black models and paid tribute to African-American figures, such as Bethann Hardison, model and activist.

Zendaya also plays with gender codes in her public appearances and appears as a defender of the LGBT+ community.

In 2020, Michelle Obama called on the influential star – who now has more than 184 million subscribers on Instagram – to encourage young Americans to register to vote.

And the jack-of-all-trades star could further expand her palette: Luca Guadagnino, who directs her in “Challengers,” encourages her to go behind the camera. A transition that she will be able to make, she says, when she has “gained confidence”.

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