Zendaya and her GQ Interview: Painting and Acting


At 24 she’s already conquered the Disney thing—and Marvel. She even won an Emmy for Euphoria. Next up for Zendaya? Figuring out who she really is when the cameras aren’t rolling.
– GQ magazine

During the pandemic, American actress and model, Zendaya, decided to try painting watercolors.

“This is some real corny shit, but I started this. It’s a journal or art-book thing that my friend Hunter [Schafer] from Euphoria got me, actually. My new thing for myself is to try not to be so damn controlling all the time and just paint. Just whatever the fuck comes out, that’s what comes out.”

In her journal, there is a watercolor figure of a naked, faceless woman who looks like she’s burning.

Zendaya has bagged a lot of main roles, playing MJ in the first Tom Holland Spider-Man film, Rue in Euphoria and KC in KC Undercover. Her recent upcoming projects include ‘Malcolm and Marie’ and ‘Dune’.

She has always felt a deep connection to her characters—especially Rue, the recovering teenage drug addict in Euphoria that won Zendaya an Emmy last September.

Her director and friend, Levinson, after much thought came up with an idea for a movie. “The script would turn into Malcolm & Marie, a stunning black-and-white film about a beautiful couple trapped in a beautiful home as they attempt to exorcise their relationship’s demons, and it showcases what makes Zendaya such a dynamic force.”

As a child growing up, Zendaya was so shy that her parents sought counsel on how to manage her affliction. As an adult, she says, she’s gotten better about speaking her mind: “With my family and friends, I can go back and forth on a topic for no reason. I’m not actually winning anything here, but I like to go back and forth just to make sure that my point is heard, make sure my point has gotten across, which is similar, in many ways, to Marie.”

The role of Marie excited her, as she had been offered other roles similar to this, but claimed that none had challenged her.

The film was made during night shoots with a crew of Euphoria collaborators.

Zendaya’s friend and Euphoria costar Hunter Schafer finds herself admiring Zendaya: “She is like a force, and I feel so lucky to be learning how to act next to her, as she’s so experienced in a lot of ways. I think the show pushes us to keep learning about ourselves as actors. Because it’s always—it’s just constantly pushing us to go further and go harder, and she feels really committed to that.”

Last September, Zendaya became the youngest woman to ever win an Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama. That night, she slept with the statuette by her bed. “Not even gonna lie!” she says. “It was just nice to roll over and see her. She was pretty. Just beautiful. Glowing!”

Though winning an Emmy is a big achievement, she is modest about it. “Yeah, for sure. Obviously…” She pauses. “I don’t know, I don’t know! It is just—it’s very cool. And I think to an extent it does help a little bit in the sense of maybe creating or getting the things that I want to get.”.

As a movie star, and 24 years old, she says she’s still trying to overcome her childhood shyness. “In this industry, I had to learn how to do small talk and stuff, because I guess I would kind of come off cold to people because I didn’t really know how to start conversation,” she says. “I remember my stylist was like, ‘You come off kind of cold. People think you’re mean because you don’t talk,’ when really I just was too nervous.”

“Now she’s learning how to navigate her anxiety and her simultaneous desire to be in control of every impulse. She’s still growing into a more fully realized version of herself, both as an artist and as a person, and learning how to manage expectations. Part of that is just being in your early 20s: Feeling pushed and pulled in a million different directions. Feeling the pressure to make every prediction, or projection, about you—whether it’s from your parents, your peers, your friends—feel real.” says the interviewer, Hunter Harris.

But few people are as famous, as ambitious, as Marvel-movie big, as Zendaya, who chooses mostly to keep private the hard work of growing into herself. The most wonderful thing is that she is still a role model figure to the younger generation.



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