The average teenager’s issues include doing their homework, working a part-time job and making friends. However, for teenage celebrities, their issues range a little bit further; they have to maintain lives in front of the camera, trying their best to be a role model for their fans and staying on top of the style game is challenging, and many can’t live up to the challenge. Not Zendaya, though.
At only 19, Zendaya Coleman, has been named a style icon, is a singer, an actress, has had her own Barbie made after her and has been labelled as one of the world’s most influential teenagers. Zendaya is taking advantage of every opportunity she gets to be a great role model for teenagers, being proud of who she is, and dominating the fashion scene all at once.
For the past couple of years, Zendaya has been standing out amongst the crowd in terms of her fashion choices. Unapologetic and edgy, Zendaya continues to dominate the red carpet, inspiring others to be a little more adventurous in their own style. Zendaya’s looks are never two-dimensional; her ever-changing hair styles and strong beauty game always steals the show at every event she attends. She rarely follows the rules, which makes her in every way, one of the most iconic and best-dressed celebrities of her generation. She is a trend-setter, not follower.
Zendaya’s spot-on style caused quite a controversy at the Academy Awards in 2015, when her dreadlocks were the centre of attention on TV show, Fashion Police. Host, Giuliana Rancic said she looked like she smelt of “patchouli” and “weed”, causing a public outcry. Despite the endless responses regarding the comment, Zendaya gracefully defended her locs and suggested that Rancic should educate herself on African style before she makes offensive comments, “Wearing my hair in locs on [the] Oscars red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of colour that our hair is good enough,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
Zendaya at the 2015 Academy Awards
Since the Academy Awards, Mattel turned Zendaya into her very own Barbie, dressed in her 2015 Oscar’s outfit, which showcased Zendaya’s strength and power to stand up against discrimination. On September 27th, when she received her Barbie, she wrote on Instagram “When I was little I couldn’t find a Barbie that looked like me, my…how times have changed,”.
Her influence as a teenager is something to be admired. Openly against Photoshopped images, she posted on her Instagram two pictures of herself, one heavily edited, telling her 26.8 million Instagram followers that she does not want to be seen with unrealistic body expectations. Perfectly happy with the way she looks, she encourages young girls to understand that magazines rarely show reality behind the images, “These are the things that make women self conscious, that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have. Anyone who knows who I am knows I stand for honest and pure self love.” She said on the Instagram post in 2015.
Apart from promoting positive body image, Zendaya is a huge advocate for racial diversity. She credits her parents teaching her to be proud and embrace her culture, which is a major reason why she has such a strong perspective on speaking out against those who feel the need to make a joke out of it. In TIME Magazine, where Zendaya was named one of 2015’s most influential teens, she shared her wisdom about her heritage, and why it’s important to love where you are from, “I thankfully had parents who were very clear to me about where I was from, who I am. I’m very proud that I’m African-American and have roots in Africa…You can appreciate other people and have more sensitivity to other cultures when you have sensitivity to your own.”
Zendaya with her own Barbie – September, 2015
Zendaya isn’t slowing down any time soon; in February, she announced she is the new face of CoverGirl, excited to be a “part of the diversity and expansion of beauty”. She will also be starring in a new Disney Channel TV series “KC Undercover”, proving she is a woman of many talents.
Zendaya continues to break rules and be a powerful influence for girls everywhere; there’s no stopping her. We’re looking forward to see what Zendaya does next!
By Ally Feiam