Having just turned twenty years old three months ago, it really isn’t a stretch to state that Zendaya Coleman may be one of the most self-actualized and aware young women her age on the planet. Case in point, her reaction when asked why she hasn’t gone off the rails like other former Disney stars.
Coleman has come quite a long way from her start on the Disney Channel in 2010, where she burst on the scene alongside Bella Thorne in hit TV show Shake It Up. She isn’t done with television just yet though, as she still has a major program on the teen-centric channel—starring and co-producing K.C. Undercover which was just picked up for a third season. And Coleman addressed the struggle with fame that many Disney and child stars have faced while growing up throughout the years. “Everybody’s normal,” said the Dancing With The Stars alum.
When asked how she stayed “normal” post Disney, she had this incredible answer.
“Everybody’s normal. The only difference is they’re living out what would happen to a normal teenager in front of everybody, which is hard because you have people judging you before you even know who you are yet,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter.
We love the compassion with which she speaks of her fellow Disney stars, especially when the popular narrative is to talk about how “wild” Disney starlets go after they leave the network.
Zendaya also talked about her role in the new Spiderman movie.
She plays Michelle, which many previously believed to be the classic Mary Jane Watson role. And naturally, there have been lots of rumors circling about her being the first African-American woman to ever play the well-known character. Zendaya isn’t sweating it though. “People are going to react over anything,” she said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter—a magazine for which she graces the latest Next Gen 2016 cover with co-star Tom Holland. She continues, “Whenever we were on set, one of us gets some random character name [on the call sheet]. [Bloggers were] like, ‘Oh they must be so and so.’ And we just crack up about it, because it’s like, ‘Whatever you want to think. You’ll find out.’ It’s funny to watch the guessing game. But of course there’s going to be outrage over that because for some reason some people just aren’t ready.”
“I’m like, ‘I don’t know what America you live in, but from what I see when I walk outside my streets of New York right now, I see lots of diversity and I see the real world and it’s beautiful, and that’s what should be reflected and that’s what is reflected so you’re just going to have to get over it.'”
She confirmed that her Spiderman character has absolutely no romantic involvement with Peter Parker, which will be a complete bummer to many. “My character is not romantic,” said Coleman of Michelle. “My character is like very dry, awkward, intellectual and because she’s so smart, she just feels like she doesn’t need to talk to people. So she comes off very weird.”