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Zendaya has won two Emmys and a Golden Globe for her starring role in the HBO show Euphoria.

Zendaya News: Actor Admits She’s Been Nervous About Challengers

Despite having been in the public eye for more than half her life, Zendaya isn’t above experiencing prerelease jitters. The 27-year-old Challengers star shared some behind-the-scenes photos from filming on Instagram three days before the movie’s April 26 release and opened up about her nerves.

“This is my first time leading a film in this way so ya girls been nervous but everyones excitement and encouragement has meant the world to me,” she wrote, later adding, “try not to judge the characters too much lol.”

Who Is Zendaya?

Zendaya is an Emmy- and Golden Globe–winning actor who stars in the HBO show Euphoria and has appeared in the Jon Watts’ Spider-Man trilogy and two Dune movies. The California native became a Disney Channel star as a teenager, anchoring the sitcoms Shake It Up and K.C. Undercover in the 2010s. Zendaya transitioned to movies in 2017 with Spider-Man: Homecoming and The Greatest Showman before leaving her wholesome image behind to portray Rue on the provocative drama series Euphoria. The performance made her the youngest person, at age 24, to win the Emmy for Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Her latest projects are the 2024 movies Dune: Part Two and Challengers. Zendaya is currently dating her Spider-Man co-star Tom Holland.
Quick Facts

FULL NAME: Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman
BORN: September 1, 1996
BIRTHPLACE: Oakland, California
HEIGHT: 5 ft. 10


Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman—known professionally by her first name—was born on September 1, 1996, in Oakland, California. “Zendaya” means “to give thanks” in the language of the Shona people of Zimbabwe.

Zendaya with her parents, Claire Stoermer and Kazembe Coleman, in July 2013

Her parents are Claire Stoermer, a teacher and stage manager, and Kazembe Ajamu Coleman, also a teacher. Although Claire and Kazembe weren’t married when they had Zendaya, they eventually wed in 2008 when their daughter was 12 years old. Their union didn’t last, though. Zendaya’s parents divorced in 2016 after eight years of marriage.

Zendaya has five older stepsiblings—Katianna, Annabella, Kaylee, Austin, and Julien—from her father’s previous marriage. She is also an aunt, though some of her siblings’ kids are close in age to her or even slightly older. “I like to think I’m the cool aunt, I had this whole situation the other day where my little niece had friends over. I’m like, ‘Do you want to hang out? Do you need a ride?,’” Zendaya told British Vogue in 2021. “But she seems to be not too embarrassed for me. Euphoria helps with that.”

Thanks to her mom’s stage managing work, Zendaya spent much of her youth hanging around the California Shakespeare Theater, better known as Cal Shakes. “I grew up in the theater,” she told British Vogue. “I was a little kid watching Richard III.” Claire had taken the job to supplement the family’s income; at the time, they were living paycheck to paycheck. Incidentally, it sparked Zendaya’s interest in acting.

During her days as a student at the Oakland School for the Arts, Zendaya landed a number of roles in local theatrical productions, including for Cal Shakes. She also honed her craft at the American Conservatory Theater and Cal Shakes’ Conservatory program. Zendaya had an interest in dance as well. She was a member of the Future Shock Oakland dance group for several years and studied hula dancing at the Academy of Hawaiian Arts.

“My parents worked very hard to provide me with everything that I could have ever wanted as a child,” Zendaya said. That included supporting her early modeling career. She booked work with companies such as Macy’s and Old Navy and once performed as a backup dancer to Selena Gomez in a Sears commercial. Then, when Zendaya told her parents she wanted to pursue show business full-time, her father quit his teaching job and moved with Zendaya, who was in middle school at the time, to Los Angeles. Kazembe became his daughter’s manager, a position he stills fulfills today.

Zendaya at age 13

In 2010, at age 13, Zendaya saw her career take off with the debut of Shake It Up on the Disney Channel. The young actor described the show to McClatchy-Tribune Business News as “a buddy comedy about two best friends who dream of becoming professional dancers and finally get their chance when they get to audition for their favorite show.”

Zendaya and her co-star, Bella Thorne, became tween idols to their young fan base. The songs they performed on the show, including “Something to Dance For,” were hit downloads with their target audience, and their two characters became so popular that they even inspired their own fashion line.

Outside of her first hit show, Zendaya lent her voice to the animated TV movie Pixie Hollow Games (2011). She also made guest appearances on other shows, including A.N.T. Farm and Good Luck Charlie, and starred with Thorne in the 2012 TV movie Frenemies. The next year saw the conclusion of Shake It Up after three seasons.
Dancing With the Stars

Also in 2013, Zendaya made the switch from her former imaginary dance show to the popular televised competition Dancing with the Stars. She was paired with professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy on the show’s 16th season and competed against fellow celebrities Andy Dick, Kellie Pickler, and Aly Raisman, among others. Her dance background didn’t prove to be much help. As she told Good Morning America, “I’m really used to hip hop dancing... So I kind of have to forget what I know and restart all over again.” Still, Zendaya and Chmerkovskiy made it to the season finale and ultimately became runners-up.
K.C. Undercover

Zendaya next starred in another Disney Channel show K.C. Undercover for three seasons, from 2015 to 2018. The young actor leveraged her star power to land as one of the sitcom’s producers and had a major hand in shaping the show, about a girl who discovers her parents are spies. “The only reason I wanted to come back to the Disney Channel is because there was a lack of diversity at that time,” Zendaya told The Seattle Times in 2017. She successfully requested the series feature a Black family and that her character, K.C., broke from the typical Disney girl archetype. Instead of an artistic type who can sing, act, and dance, K.C.—originally planned as Katy—was a tech genius with a black belt. Zendaya even managed to change the show’s title from Super Awesome Katy.
Spider-Man Trilogy and The Greatest Showman

As she wound down her Disney years, Zendaya made a splash with her first major movies. She appeared in The Greatest Showman (2017) as trapeze artist Anne Wheeler, alongside Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum. The musical biopic also starred Zac Efron and Michelle Williams.

Even more consequentially, Zendaya joined director Jon Watts’ Spider-Man trilogy that began with 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. Starring Tom Holland as the titular superhero, the movies saw Zendaya portray Michelle “M.J.” Jones, Holland’s onscreen classmate and eventual love interest. She reprised the role in Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). All three movies were major box-office hits, particularly No Way Home, which earned more than $1.9 billion to become 2021’s highest-grossing film. Their success secured Zendaya’s place in Hollywood for years to come.

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