Zendaya appears to have solved the mystery of how to successfully transition from child star to adult actress. The former Disney channel actress portrayed K.C. Cooper on the family show K.C. Undercover before she began taking on more serious roles. Now, the actress plays the main character, Rue, on the HBO series Euphoria, a much more controversial and adult-themed role for the young star. Despite this, Zendaya has remained humble and level-headed. The actress’ list of women who most inspire her may have had something to do with the star’s ability to stay cool in the face of a skyrocketing career.
The Big Three of Zendaya’s Influences
During a 2017 interview with friend and fellow young actress Yara Shahidi for Glamour, Zendaya opened up about the women she feels have been most influential in her life. Shahidi began the conversation by mentioning that one of the powerful woman she looks up to is politician Maxine Waters, who had made the news earlier that year after “reclaiming” her time after Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin dodged her questions during a House meeting. The two agreed on the power of Waters’ decision to take back her speaking time after effectively being ignored.
Zendaya then revealed that she has a long list of women she admires, including her mother. While she credits a wide variety of women for positively influencing her, she mentions three figures that stand out. The actress stated that she considers herself to be a “love child” of Oprah Winfrey, Shonda Rhimes, and Beyonce.
Oprah’s career is nothing short of inspiring
When commenting on Winfrey, Zendaya claimed she’s “obsessed” with her because she has soared to unbelievable heights and can do anything. “She’s someone who, even with everything stacked against her, has soared to unbelievable heights. If she wants to create a network, she can do it. She wants to produce a movie? She can do it. But then also there’s this level of realness to her. You feel like she’s your auntie,” the actress explained.
Shonda Rhimes showed the actress the future
When Shahidi inquired about why she was fascinated with Rhimes, Zendaya immediately went into her praises for Rhimes’ ability to create, particularly in regards to roles for women of color. “I mean, Shonda — she saw something nobody else was doing and said, ‘I’m going to create it myself. I’m going to put strong, powerful women of color in lead roles and create narratives for different types of people.’ And she owns a day. She owns Thursdays,” Zendaya hailed about Rhimes.
Beyonce proved that one person can do it all
And when it comes to singer-songwriter, Beyonce? Zendaya stated that the singer is juggling fame and success while also being a mother and releasing a new album. “And then Beyonce. She took it to the next level with Lemonade. She’s got twins, and she’s banging. She’s killing it,” Zendaya continued. The actress also gave an honorable mention to Michelle Obama and said she hoped the former first lady would one day run for President.