Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman is an American actress and singer who first came into fame in 2010 with the television comedy ‘Shake It Up.’ She also starred in big-budget films like ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ and ‘The Greatest Showman.’ Zendaya has received numerous accolades, including a Primetime Emmy Award.
Who is Zendaya
Zendaya was born on September 1, 1996, in Oakland, California. She is an American actress and singer who has been named by Time magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people in the world on its annual list in 2022.
Zendaya began her career as a child model and backup dancer. She landed her first television gig in 2010 as Rocky Blue on the Disney Channel sitcom Shake It Up. he starred as the titular character in the sitcom K.C. Undercover (2015-2018) for the channel. In 2017, she appeared in the superhero film Spider-Man: Homecoming. Her other film roles include the musical drama The Greatest Showman (2017), the animated musical adventure Smallfoot (2018), the teen drama series (2019), the romantic drama Malcolm & Marie (2021), and the science fiction epic Dune (2021).
Aside from acting, Zendaya released the music singles “Watch me” and “Swag It Out” in 2011. In 2012, she signed with Hollywood Records and released her debut single, “Replay.” In 2013, she released her eponymous debut studio album to moderate success and critical acclaim. Zendaya achieved her biggest commercial success as a musician in collaboration with Zac Efron, “Rewrite the Stars.” The single received multi-platinum sales certifications globally.
Zendaya’s father Kazembe Ajamu Coleman, is an African-American with roots in Arkansas. Her mother Claire Stoermer, is of German and Scottish ancestry. Zendaya has five older siblings. She attended Fruitvale Elementary School when she was young. Zendaya and her two friends from the school performed a play for Black History Month when she was six years old.
Theatrical performances inspired Zendaya to pursue acting while working at a nearby California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda, California. She helped her seat patrons and sold fundraising tickets. At the age of eight, Zendaya joined Future Shock Oakland, a hip-hop dance troupe, where she became a member for three years.
While still a student, Zendaya attended Oakland School for the Arts, where she was cast in several roles in area theaters. She played Little Ti Moune in Once on This Island at the Berkeley Playhouse. She also performed in many of William Shakespeare’s plays. She appeared in Richard III as Lady Anne and played Celia in As You Like It. Zendaya’s family relocated to Los Angeles when she was in seventh grade. She graduated from Oak Park High School in 2015 while pursuing an acting career.
Shake It Up
Zendaya auditioned for the role of CeCe Jones in the Disney sitcom Shake It Up in November 2009. She performed Michael Jackson’s “Leave Me Alone” for her audition and was selected to play Rocky Blue. On November 7, 2010, Shake It Up premiered and garnered 6.2 million viewers, becoming the second highest-rated premiere in Disney Channel’s 27-year history.
Zendaya then released a promotional independent single, “Swag It Out,” in 2011 and starred in the book trailer for “From Bad To Cursed” by Katie Alender. She collaborated with Bella Thorne in June of the same year and released “Watch Me,” which peaked at 86 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second season of Shake It Up premiered on September 18, 2011.
Dancing with the Stars
At 16, Zendaya became one of the youngest contestants ever to compete in season 16 of Dancing with the Stars. One of the professional dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy, partnered with her, and the couple finished as runners-up behind Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough in May.
On July 16, 2013, Zendaya released a self-titled debut album that was preceded by the single “Replay,” released on July 16, 2013, written by Paul Shelton and Tiffany Fred. Zendaya was cast as 16-year-old Zoey Stevens, the lead character in the Disney Channel Original Movie Zapped, in August 2013.
Transition to Adult Roles
Zendaya appeared as a guest judge in the season finale of the 15th season of the reality television series Project Runway in December 2016. In August 2016, she appeared in the music video for the “Versace on the Floor” song by Bruno Mars. She co-starred in the original musical film The Greatest Showman the following year. Zendaya portrayed a trapeze artist who falls in love with Zac Efron’s character during a time when interracial romance was taboo. The Hollywood Reporter praised Zendaya for “registering strongest, bringing touching sensitivity to her handful scenes.”
In September 2018, Zendaya voiced the yeti Meechee in the animated film Smallfoot and also sang two songs for the soundtrack. She starred in the HBO drama series Euphoria in June 2019, which made her the youngest recipient of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Zendaya starred in the film Malcolm & Marie in 2021. The film received mixed feedback, though Zendaya’s performance was positively reviewed. Brain Truitt of USA Today described her as “luminous” and “absolute fire,” while Richard Brody called her performance “the movie’s only redeeming quality.”
In 2022, Zendaya co-wrote two songs, “I’m Tired” and “Elliot’s Song,” for Euphoria’s second season. She earned four Emmy nominations for the second season of Euphoria. She also received two nominations for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for her lyrical contributions to the show’s soundtrack. In February 2022, it was announced that Zendaya is set to star in and produce the sports drama Challengers, directed by Luca Guadagnino.
Zendaya owns a condo in Brooklyn and a home in Los Angeles. She is a vegetarian, having stated: “my main reason for being a vegetarian is that I’m an animal lover – definitely not because I love vegetables.”