Zendaya Coleman is truly a modern Renaissance woman.
Whether you’re a teenager struggling with confidence, a mother looking for a strong role model for your daughter or a fashion-obsessed 20-year-old just trying to stay fly, then Zendaya is one to watch. Here are 11 reasons why you should look up to the elegant, inspirational woman.
1. SHE PROMOTES BODY POSITIVITY.
In 2015, the magazine Modeliste attempted to photoshop photos of Zendaya without her permission. The celebrity was appalled by how dramatically they had altered her body, so she commented on her Instagram account (via CNN), “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. So I took it upon myself to release the real pic.” She’s an inspiration and a source of comfort for young girls struggling with body image issues, and we love her for it.
2. SHE’S CULTURALLY AWARE AND WILLING TO EDUCATE THOSE WHO AREN’T.
After wearing a dreadlocked hairstyle to the 2015 Oscars, the E! Host Giuliana Rancic made some distasteful comments about the hairstyle. Zendaya responded to the remark saying, “There is a fine line between what is funny and disrespectful … I was hit with ignorant comments and pure disrespect. Giuliana withdrew her comment, and after the controversy hashed out, Zendaya gracefully accepted her apology.
3. SHE HAS STRONG FAMILY BONDS.
In her interview with TIME, Zendaya praised her family saying, “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized my true models are my parents. My mom is like a sheroe. My dad is so strong. I look up to my big sister and realize the influence she’s had on me and making me a better person. Having such a big, grounded family, I realized as you get older how important that is.” We attribute her humble demeanor and upstanding character to her parents; it’s refreshing to see a celebrity with such a close and genuine bond with her family.
4. SHE’S SHOWN HERSELF TO BE A MOTIVATED AND DETERMINED PERSON.
On top of her work in the entertainment industry and her philanthropy, Zendaya has also dipped her toes into the fashion world. She’s in the workings of creating her own shoe line. She told Complex that she “wanted the shoes to be very personal… I want to make something that I love, that I’m going to wear out, that I’m going to work on the red carpet, that I’m going to be proud of, that I’m going to dedicate 120 percent into.” Is there anything this woman can’t do?
5. SHE SHUTS DOWN HATERS FLAWLESSLY.
Zendaya is no stranger to criticism. Her daring red carpet looks – involving wigs and fabrics of all varieties – have sparked a lot of hate towards the star.
6. SHE’S A FEMINIST WHO STANDS UP FOR OTHER WOMEN.
When a popular Instagram account posted a photo insulting the YouTuber and makeup artist Shannon by making derogatory statements about a photo of her with and without makeup, Zendaya came to the rescue. According to Huffington Post, in a response over Twitter she stated, “That awkward moment when this tweet is irrelevant cause she’s slaying both ways #wannaborrowmyglasses.”
7. SHE WAS DECLARED ONE OF TIME’S TOP 30 MOST INFLUENTIAL TEENS OF 2015.
In her extended interview with TIME, the female actress says, “I am really proud of the fact that I’m able to use people knowing my name and knowing who I am for good things … There’s going to be one girl or one boy that is going to scroll past that, and it’s going to affect them in some type of way. If that helps them in a positive way through whatever they’re dealing with, then I did my job.” Judging by how outspoken she’s been on critical cultural issues this year, we completely agree that she deserves the honor.
8. SHE KEEPS IT REAL.
Zendaya stresses that her success in becoming a role model for young women is her authenticity. Unlike other Disney stars, she’s made sure not to keep herself free from false personas. In her interview with Complex, she says, “I’m a real model. Which means I’m not pretending to be something that I’m not … So just keep it real. I’m a good kid and that’s all.” We’re glad that there’s no act behind her endearing persona.
9. SHE’S HUMBLE AND DOWN TO EARTH.
Posting makeup-less photos of her lounging in her natural setting, Zendaya assures fans that she’s an actual person outside her red carpet walks. We think her down-to-earth personality is partially due to her Oakland upbringing as one of six children.
10. SHE’S WISE BEYOND HER YEARS.
In her interview with Complex, the interviewer is impressed with how mature Zendaya is for her age. She responds, “Everybody says that who talks to me. And honestly I don’t know why I’m so deep. I don’t know! Everybody says I’m like 19 going on 80, honest to god.” For her age, she’s smart enough to stay humble and use her fame for a good cause. She’s promoting awareness for key issues in society, such as racism and unrealistic body expectations, all while setting an example for a younger generation.
11. SHE’S A PHILANTHROPIST.
According to PR Newswire, Zendaya spent her 18th birthday raising money for the charity feedONE with the goal to feed at least 150 children in Haiti, Tanzania and the Philippines. Convoy of Hope, which is the larger charity that umbrellas feedONE, has been receiving support from Zendaya for many years now. On the topic, Zendaya states, “Too many kids will go back to school hungry this year, but we can do something about that. My generation has the opportunity to change the world. With Convoy of Hope, I’ve raised my voice and am using it to give people hope.” This isn’t her only run in with charity work. She’s also supported Toys for Tots, Friends for Change, Bookbag Drives, Operation Smile and Donate My Dress in the past. Could you love her more?