Zendaya Opens Up About What It's Like Being a Young Black Woman in Hollywood

Kori Williams
Photo credit: Steven Ferdman - Getty Images
Photo credit: Steven Ferdman - Getty Images

From Seventeen

  • Zendaya took part in the Hollywood Reporter's latest Drama Actress Roundtable, where she opened up about her career and the pressure she feels being in Hollywood.

  • The youngest member of the virtual round table, Z also discussed the responsibility she feels to her young fans even as she takes on more mature roles.

Social distancing hasn't stopped real, honest discussions from taking place and Zendaya is speaking out about what it's like being a young Black woman in Hollywood. The Euphoria star sat down with fellow actresses Janelle Monàe, Rose Byrne, Helen Bonham Carter, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston for Hollywood Reporter's Drama Actress Roundtable, where they opened up about the different challenges they face in the spotlight.

Zendaya, at 23 years old, was the youngest at the virtual table and discussed the pressure she feels as a young star. "It's a constant thing. Being a young Disney actor, that's one level, being a young Black woman is one level, and then being very hard on myself is another level," she said. "It's also just a personal fear. I want to do a good job, and sometimes that can cause you to be fearful of things."

The Disney Channel star revealed she felt immense pressure in choosing her next roles and like there wasn't room for her make a mistake.

"I think, like a lot of artists, I'm my biggest critic, so some of it was internal — not wanting to make a mistake or worrying that maybe I didn't have the room to make a mistake and wanting to make the right next move," she revealed. But I also wanted to prove myself. When Euphoria came along, I was very grateful because all those fears melted away and I felt like it was something that I had to be a part of. So, the fear became just, like, push yourself. If you go to work and you're scared, that's a good thing. You should be worried about whether you can do it."

Zendaya also spoke about her young fans, who have been with her since her Disney Channel days and the responsibility she feels towards those fans. She warned them on her IG that she would be in Euphoria before its premiere because the show deals with more mature topics, like drug addiction and domestic violence.

"I have a heavy responsibility on my shoulders, but I'm appreciative for that because with that there's a lot of good that I can do and I know who is watching," Zendaya said. "Now, more than ever, specifically with Black Lives Matter and everything, I feel an obligation to make sure that I'm aware and putting out the right things and in line with organizers and people who are on the ground."

You can watch the roundtable below:


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