When I saw Zendaya had landed Marie Claire, about eight months after her InStyle cover that was itself only a month after Glamour, I had a split-second of worrying, “Is this all too soon? Will it be too repetitive?” But the moment the thought came to me, it passed, because: I don’t care. I’ve realized that right now, my relationship with Zendaya is that I will always — with relish — read what she’s saying, even if I think I’ve consumed it before. I find her very smart and poised, and savvy. And disciplined, per her discussion with Janet Mock:
JM: I also wish that black girls could be able to navigate these public spaces and make mistakes and be given chances.
Z: That’s 100 percent true. 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.
Janet’s interview, as with a lot of these things, occasionally feels a little stiff — as if they edited it so closely that sometimes the transitions feel too clean — but she clearly prepped well. They talk about race and representation a fair bit, with Janet observing that Zendaya is one of a very small handful of black women to come out of the Disney machine, and asking astute questions like about how Zendaya is able to be mindful of herself and take self-care time as she balances a sense of social responsibility with going full-bore at her career. And Zendaya is skilled. Even if her message is similar to what we’ve heard before, it’s a) a great one, and b) well-delivered to the point that if she’s repeating herself, you don’t notice. Or, again, don’t mind, or don’t even care to wonder. I just like her. Take this, excerpted from a speech she gave:
“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 at this year’s Beautycon in New York. “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.”
It’s a good read. Thanks, ladies.