Zendaya: ‘I’m Hollywood’s acceptable version of a black girl and that has to change’


Zendaya took aim at Hollywood’s unacceptable beauty standards during a talk at Beautycon Festival on Sunday (22Apr18).

Zendaya was one of the key speakers on day two of the event, held in New York, and stunned in a colourful print dress as she sat down to chat with Uber’s chief brand officer Bozoma Saint John.

“If the opportunity isn’t there, we will pave the way for our opportunity. And not just opportunity for myself, but for my entire community,” Zendaya stated, as the crowd cheered her on. “As a black woman, as a light-skinned black woman, it’s important that I say ‘listen, I’m using my privilege and my platform to show you how much beauty there is the African-American community’.

“I always find it weird that Hollywood – I wish you guys could be in these meetings – but I am Hollywood’s, I guess you could say, acceptable version of a black girl, and that has got to change. We’re vastly too beautiful and too interesting for me to be the only representation of that.”

The 21-year-old found fame alongside Bella Thorne on Disney Channel show Shake It Up, and has had no difficulty shaking off her child star tag with roles in Spider-Man: Homecoming and box office smash The Greatest Showman.

She’s about to start filming Finest Kind opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Ansel Elgort, and also has biography A White Lie coming up, in which she plays Anita Hemmings, the first African-American woman to graduate from Vassar College.

“But what I’m saying is about creating those opportunities, you have to create the path, and that’s with anything, whether it be Hollywood, art, whatever, sometimes you just got create your own,” Zendaya added.