shopaholica_zendaya_allure_january_2017_1

The first thing you need to know about Zendaya is that you’re saying her name wrong. It is not zen-DIE-uh. It’s zen-DAY-uh. Maybe you could be forgiven when you consider the fact that she just turned 20 and you’re probably rusty on your Disney Channel cast members. Then again, she’s a legit red-carpet favorite, an accomplished musician, and oh my God, she just turned 20.

 

shopaholica_zendaya_allure_january_2017_2

“Everything has been a climb,” says Zendaya. “And I’ve been able to take my family and friends with me. I came from humble beginnings.” Her eyes go wide and she looks around her backyard, at the pomegranate and lemon trees, the wooden swing, the inflatable toys. “I’ve never had a pool before,” she says, making a grand, sweeping gesture with her arm that takes in the newly planted baby palm trees and all of the unfurnished rooms inside. “I’ve never lived in a house this beautiful. I appreciate everything so much more because everything I have has been worked for.”

shopaholica_zendaya_allure_january_2017_3

When she was a regular kid with two names, Zendaya Coleman lived in Oakland in a “not-so-amazing neighborhood.” She was the youngest in a big, happy family (“my support system”): two sisters, two brothers, and her parents, both teachers.

She played basketball. She coordinated clothes with her niece. “The shirts with graffiti [Alexander] Wang just did? We had those made for us in the hood. Mine was pink and had ‘Daya’ on the back.” In other words, she was a good kid.

During the summers, she was dragged to her mom’s second job at a local theater. Sounds miserable. But not for Zendaya—she was paid in chocolate-chip cookies and Snapple. She watched every play from the wings. The vast majority of the performances were Shakespeare— and most of the lines sailed over her four-year-old head. Didn’t matter. Zendaya knew she wanted to be a part of this world.

shopaholica_zendaya_allure_january_2017_4

Eight years later, the desire was still very much there, and Zendaya’s parents drove her to a Disney audition. “I just popped up out of nowhere,” she says. “And I was kicking ass. I came. I knew what I wanted. I think they saw that.” They did. The audition was for a show called Shake It Up, and she landed one of the leads, Rocky Blue. Zendaya packed up her 12-year-old belongings, said good-bye to her big, happy family, and moved with her dad to Los Angeles to enter one of the most bizarre professions in the world: child acting. “It was really difficult,” she says, “and I was used to having my mom.” (Two years later, Zendaya was making enough that her mom could join them in L.A.)

shopaholica_zendaya_allure_january_2017_5

Zendaya never went to high school in the traditional sense. Though you could argue she grew up in a place where the cliques are much worse. “I’m nice and cool with everybody, but not a lot of people know me very well,” she says. She keeps to herself—a defense mechanism in a town where everyone wants something. “I have a very tight-knit circle.”

You won’t find her out spraying Dom with models or crashing at Taylor’s for the night. And— amazingly—her goodness has been a point of some controversy. “I’m just not a social butterfly,” she insists. It’s been suggested that Zendaya has manufactured a squeaky-clean image that panders to her fans’ parents (and their wallets) and Disney’s vision for her as a wholesome role model. Her defense? “I’d rather be home with my family,” she says, adding, “I’ve never had a desire to drink.”

That’s not to say she pretends to be perfect. “There is so much stress in my life,” she says. “I’ve got family, a lot of people that depend on me and need me. I try to take care of everybody and sometimes that drives you crazy—you want everybody to be OK, and you’re like, Jesus, am I OK?”

 

Read the Full Article at Alllure

Photos & Content Courtesy of Allure

Leave a Reply