The formidable Zendaya is a vision on the cover of Vogue Hong Kong’s November issue. Styled by her longtime collaborator Law Roach, Zendaya is captured exclusively for Vogue Hong Kong in a dynamic portrayal by photographer Djeneba Aduayom, under the creative direction of Patti Wilson. The actress, styled in Louis Vuitton for the cover, recently became the youngest Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Lead Actress for her role in Euphoria. Zendaya speaks exclusively to Vogue Hong Kong on how she’s managed fame from a young age, her history-making Emmy award win and her role in the soon-to-be-released blockbuster Dune.
Your first major acting role was with Disney. How do you feel that shaped your career?
I learned a lot by starting at Disney Channel. It was a great foundation for me, like bootcamp, or school. I learned a lot about comedy and what it takes to make people laugh, and even learned a little bit about producing and what goes into making a television show which was really helpful in having a better understanding of how the business of Hollywood works too. There was a lot of balancing school and work and finding time to just be a kid too.
How did you navigate being in the spotlight from such a young age?
The thing that was most important was having a good circle of friends and family around me that were not just supportive but honest and real with me. I think it’s important to have people that support your dreams and are behind you but it’s also important to have people that will tell you the truth when you need to hear it even if it’s not what you want to hear. I have lots of siblings, nieces and nephews, and cousins, and surrounding myself with my family has been really key in allowing me to be protected.
You’ve proven versatility in your career since, from roles in Spider-Man and The Greatest Showman to the television series Euphoria. What is it about a role that captivates you?
For me, it’s about connection and following a feeling. It’s the same as when people fall in love, when I read something that really captures me that I really want to be a part of. It’s this magical thing that makes me feel like I just have to do it. When I feel connected to a piece of work in some way, or through multiple different layers, it just feels like something I have to do.
What do you see as the most defining point or points in your career thus far?
I hope these moments are still yet to come. Even when all these awesome things are happening, I still consider it just the beginning. There’s so many things I want to do and learn. I just hope I’m given the time and the ability to do so.
How has music influenced your roles?
I love music. I’ve taken a break as an artist from music but being able to be a part of a musical, The Greatest Showman, was really special as I used to do them as a kid in theatre. Who knows, maybe I’ll do a musical again, but for now I’m giving myself a musical break. I joked with Sam [Levinson], the creator of Euphoria, as he told me that he was going to write me a musical number for the end of Euphoria, and I said ‘are you kidding me, very funny.’ But I said, ‘if there’s one person I’ll do a musical number for it’s you because I know you’ll do it in a way that I find special.’ And he was able to do so. I trusted him in that sense.
You have also experimented with fashion design in the past. Is that something we can expect more of?
I haven’t really thought about it since Tommy Hilfiger. That was such a big thing for me – it was so fun and so creative and I really appreciate the family that I found in Tommy and his whole team. I learned so much about the fashion business, not just from a creative standpoint but also from a business standpoint. It was fascinating. I don’t have any further plans but I love clothes, and I love fashion, it’s one of my many passions, so we’ll see if and when the timing is right. I just did a movie in quarantine for which my stylist has to double-up as a costume designer, going back and forth picking out fabrics to find the perfect silhouette to create an iconic look. It was fun.
At 24 years old, you’ve grown up in Gen Z, for which social media has been paramount. Do you try to separate your professional and private life and, if so, how?
To a degree, absolutely. I try to keep my private life private but I’m very open and honest and have a great relationship and closeness with my fans who respect my boundaries and the things that I personally like to keep to myself. My fans have been able to grow with me and watch me grow from a child to an adult, with many of them on the same journey. I definitely feel a mutual respect between my fans and I. They want to know things but they also give me space. They know that I’m human. I definitely try to manage my relationship with social media because it’s important to enjoy it but also to take breaks and allow time for yourself. Sometimes I’ll just disappear for a bit and challenge myself to not be so involved in my phone and other times I allow myself to spiral down rabbit holes like everybody else. It’s really just about finding that healthy balance.
How do you hope to inspire and be a role model for younger women?
Really just by doing the best I can. Hopefully through my work, and the things that I choose to do, and the actions that I take, I can lead by example. And just be human along the way. I definitely don’t want to be this unattainable perfect ideal of a human being. I am a human at the end of the day – humans make mistakes, humans get confused, humans are figuring out how to be the best version of themselves and that’s what I want to get across. We’re all on our own separate little journey and you’ve just got to be kind to yourself.
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“There is hope in the young people.” 在接過艾美獎最佳女主角獎座時，@Zendaya 不厭其煩地說了兩遍。 11月刊封面明星 #Zendaya 成名於社交媒體主導的時代，13歲的Disney Channel童星到24歲成為艾美獎史上最年輕的劇情類最佳女主角，她的未來勢不可擋。在為 #VogueHongKong 獨家拍攝的封面故事中，#Zendaya 與我們分享創下歷史的感受、新戲 @DuneMovie 的經歷，以「Gen Z 代言人」身份，分享新生代對未來的看法。收錄完整封面故事及專訪的11月刊明日3號於全港正式上架。 點擊 @VogueHongKong 簡介的likeshop了解訂閱電子書及紙本實體書的方法。 “There is hope in the young people,” said #Zendaya as she accepted her recent Emmy Award for ‘Outstanding Lead Actress.’ Now #Zendaya stars on the cover of #VogueHongKong’s November issue, styled by #LawRoach and captured by photographer #DjenebaAduayom. The actress, dressed in #LouisVuitton for the cover, talks exclusively to Vogue Hong Kong on how she’s managed fame from a young age, her history-making #Emmy award win and her role in the soon-to-be-released blockbuster #Dune. The November issue is out tomorrow, Nov 3 on newstands, convenience stores and Bookazines. Follow #VogueHongKong’s link in bio to subscribe to e-books and hard copies. Photographer: @DjenebaAduayom Creative Director: @Patti_Wilson Stylist: @LuxuryLaw Producer: @AGPNYC Casting Director: @JillDemling Makeup Artist: @OfficialSheiks Hair Stylist: @Fesa_N Set Designer: @LizzieLang Manicurist: #ChaunPeth Video Editor: @Mart_Yeung #VogueHongKong #ZendayaForVogueHongKong
Who have you been inspired by yourself?
By my peers, the people that I get to work and interact with. They see me a lot creatively and push me to want to be a better artist. And I hope in a little way I can do that for them too. Those are the best kinds of friendships – when you can push each other to be better.
With the pandemic taking hold this year, how have you adjusted to this time?
I think it’s been a time for doing what you’ve been meaning to do or wanting to try – just going ahead and doing it. If you’re a creative person, perhaps that’s writing, or maybe it’s putting together a business plan or idea. I think hone in on those skills and just do it, give it a try.
You shot the upcoming film Malcolm & Marie this year. How did that come about and how was production during this time?
It basically came about because Sam, behind Euphoria, and I are very close and we often get on the phone and talk for hours. I really wanted to be creative and I know he did too, but in a safe way, so we just started shooting ideas back and forth and he came up with this brilliant idea for a way to just have two actors in one place, and create a real relationship piece. So he started writing it and then John David Washington came on board which was a dream and we were just able to go from there. We had a lot of safety precautions and measures taken to make sure everyone was safe. We lived in a little bubble, nobody was allowed to leave for like a month, and we shot our little movie and workshopped it and were able to really get into the creative part which was the most exciting and fun. It was like making a very very small indie film. I brought my own clothes to help with set dressing, and I did my own hair and makeup every day.
Congratulations on the upcoming release of Dune. What can we expect from your role?
Dune is massive, it’s larger than life. I was just lucky to be a very small piece of something so huge, with such big-hitters, such massive talents. I don’t have a lot to do in this first movie, but I was just grateful to be there. It’s such a special thing to be a part of.
What would be your dream role of the future?
I don’t know if i have a dream role. I just do what feels good and what feels right and follow that instinct of things that excite me and push me and make me want to be a better artist.
How does it feel to have made history as the youngest ever winner of the award for ‘Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series’ at the 2020 Emmys?
It feels pretty crazy that it happened to me. I’m not even really sure how to feel about it to be honest. I feel very lucky and honoured because that means that my peers that voted must like what I did so that means a lot. It’s just one of those things that I know happened but it still doesn’t feel like it happened to me. It’s sitting on the surface a little bit. I think that’s my problem with most things, they sit on the surface and I never quite believe that anything is happening. But it was a special day.
EditorVogue Hong Kong