Zendaya is the kind of grounded you wish all of your friends could be like. As she makes an impact in the world for so many people—young people in particular—she leads the way with vulnerability and transparency, showing up unapologetically as her full self. For her September cover shoot, Zendaya talks to Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors–who took over the actress’s Instagram earlier this summer so her followers could truly understand this movement–about what brings her hope and where we can all go from here.
On why she doesn’t consider herself an activist: “I have always hesitated to use the word “activist” for myself. That is a lifestyle. That is a choice every day to be doing the work and devoting your life to a cause. And I don’t feel I am deserving of the title. There are a lot of words that better describe what I do. I’m an actress, but I’m also just a person who has a heart and wants to do the right thing.”
On looking to people like Patrisse to make an impact: “I didn’t know what I could do to help. And that’s when I reach out to people like you. Because at the end of the day, I’m just an actress, you know? And I don’t pretend to be anything other than that. If I don’t know something, then I ask people who are actually on the front lines doing the work. I’m up in the bleachers, not on the field. So I always think, ‘How can I cheer you on and be a part of something greater than myself?’”
On opening up about anxiety and coping with it: “I think a lot of it stems from the pressure I put on myself, wanting to do my best and not make a mistake. I definitely don’t have it under control yet. I don’t have the key, so if anybody does, let me know! I do find that talking about it is helpful, and that can often mean calling my mom in the middle of the night. Sometimes I make her sleep on the phone with me like a frickin’ baby. [laughs]”
On missing Euphoria and why Rue is her home base: “I do miss Rue. She’s like my little sister in a lot of ways. And going back to that character is a home base for me. There is a beautiful second season that has been written, but in order to do it the way we want to do it, we need to wait until it’s safer.”
On her team for this cover shoot: “I’ve always had a Black stylist and Black hair and makeup artists. But we were able to work with two talented young Black photographers on this shoot too. We’re actually around the same age, so it was cool to be with my peers and have an opportunity to show what we can do. There are also so many Black designers people don’t know about, so having an opportunity where they can be in InStyle and get the love they deserve is really special.”
The September issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download August 21.
Styled by Law Roach
Hair by Larry Sims
Makeup by Sheika Daley
[Photo Credit: AB+DM/InStyle Magazine]