Zendaya Reflects on Her 'Disney Kid' Past: 'I Am Grateful for That'

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Trace William Cowen
·2 min read
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Zendaya, whose new mid-pandemic drama Malcolm & Marie debuts later this week, recently linked up with Promising Young Woman star Carey Mulligan for an extended 21-minute discussion during which she reflected on the impact of her early Disney years.

In the interview, conducted as part of Variety's Actors on Actors series, Zendaya mentioned that Euphoria creator (and Malcolm & Marie director) Sam Levinson had her "on a mood board" for Euphoria character Rue prior to working together.

"With Sam, I definitely think there's just like a special connection there," she told Mulligan. "Before Euphoria, technically I was still on Disney Channel. He must have seen something in me."

Speaking further on Levinson's early belief in her power as an actor, Zendaya pointed to a special "something to that kind of faith" in knowing that someone is capable of more.

"I've always felt that I could bring things to the table, that I could be creative and free to try things, and put out bad ideas," Zendaya said. "Because of the Disney kid thing, I get scared of that kind of thing."

Asked if she still thinks of herself as a "Disney kid" these days, the historic Emmy winner summarized what that aspect of her legacy means to her to this day.

"The thing is, I am," she said. "And to a degree, I am grateful for that. That's where I started, and I learned so much from that experience. It's just kind of been this slow progression, and I am happy that it's all been to prove it to myself and not to anybody else, you know? I embrace it a little bit. It's part of my heritage to a degree."

Peep the full interview up top. The "Disney kid" talk hits around the seven-minute and 13-minute marks, respectively.

The must-see Promising Young Woman is out now. Malcolm & Marie, co-starring John David Washington, drops Friday in select theaters and hits Netflix on Feb. 5.

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