Celebrity Entertainment

Zendaya | Her Evolution from Disney Star to Emmy Winner


Zendaya has proven herself to be one of the most successful former Disney stars, alongside Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, and many others. As she started small by being a former model and back-up dancer, she strived to make her way into Hollywood. 

Even now, the black actress continues to awe the public and critics not only with her beauty but also with her striking talents. Read on to know more about Zendaya and her evolution from being a rising Disney star to becoming an award-winning actress.


Brief Profile: Zendaya Age, Height, and More

  • Age: 24 
  • Height: 5’10’’
  • Date of Birth: September 1, 1996
  • Nationality: American
  • Ethnicity: African-American, German


Youngest Emmy Winner for Best Lead Actress

Zendaya made history on September 20, 2020 for winning the Emmy award for Best Lead Actress in a drama. At only 24 years old, Zendaya became the youngest recipient to win the award, beating other nominated actresses such as Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Oh. The Emmy win was thanks to her role as Rue Bennett on the HBO drama series, Euphoria.

Upon starting her acceptance speech, Zendaya said that winning such an award was “pretty crazy”. Indeed, the shock was written all over the actress’ face as she clasped her award in her hands. Despite winning such a big achievement, Zendaya stayed grounded and humble as she acknowledged other people’s efforts and skills. She expressed admiration for the talents of the other celebrated actresses who were nominated for the same award. Moreover, she thanked her family, team, and everyone who supported her. She also thanked HBO and the people behind her Euphoria role.

To end her speech, Zendaya expressed her belief in the youth. The award-winning actress stated that “there is hope in the young people out there.” She also acknowledged the people working on the streets as she said, “I see you, I admire you, I thank you.” Indeed, she has touched the hearts of many people as she inspired them with her great achievement at a young age.


Who is Zendaya?

The actress that we have come to know as Zendaya was given the birth name Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman. She later decided to use her first name as her professional screen name. Zendaya chose to use this name because of its meaningful definition, “to give thanks”, in the tongue of Zimbabwe’s Shona people.

Initially, Zendaya started her career as a backup dancer and model. She showcased her innate skills and talents in various gigs as she grew up over the years. Eventually, her first career breakthrough came through the Disney hit show, Shake It Up. From there, the artist transitioned to other fields and ventures that later came her way. 


Zendaya Parents and Early Life

Zendaya Coleman was born on September 1, 1996, to parents Claire Stoermer and Kazembe Ajamu Coleman. The actress spent most of her childhood in Oakland, California. She often stayed in the California Shakespeare Theater as her mother worked as a house manager there. Due to this, she became more involved and talented in theater acting. As Zendaya grew up, she pursued the mastery of her acting skills by joining the Cal Shakes Conservatory Program. She also later studied at the American Conservatory Theater where she honed her singing, dancing, and performing talents.

Aside from acting, the artist also pursued her passion for dancing. She joined a dance group named Future Shock Oakland which primarily performed hula and hip hop dances. Zendaya also starred as a back-up dancer for Selena Gomez in a Sears commercial. After starting small, she finally landed her career hit by starring as Rocky Blue in Disney’s Shake It Up.


Zendaya Movies and TV Shows

Zendaya might have pursued different career opportunities, but it was her acting projects that truly helped her make a name for herself. For over a decade, the public has witnessed Zendaya grow up and evolve into the award-winning actress that she is today.

Here is a list of TV shows, movies, and guest appearances that Zendaya has starred in thus far:


First Major Career Breakthrough

Zendaya’s first career breakthrough took place in 2010. She played a major role alongside Bella Thorne in the original Disney Channel series, Shake It Up. Starring as Rocky Blue, Zendaya was able to exhibit both her dancing and acting skills. Eventually, her status as a Disney teen idol led her to more career opportunities.


Other Appearances

Zendaya also appeared in various other TV shows. In 2012, the Disney star made a guest appearance on A.N.T. Farm. There, she played the role of a teen movie sensation named Sequoia Jones. Additionally, she also appeared in a crossover episode for the Disney Channel series Good Luck Charlie. Zendaya reprised her role as Rocky Blue, the same character she played in Shake It Up

Later, the actress starred with Bella Thorne in a Disney film anthology titled Frenemies. Zendaya portrayed the main character, Halley Brandon. In the film anthology, her character runs a blog named GeeklyChic with Bella Thorne’s character, Avalon Greene.


K.C. Undercover

After multiple appearances on different shows and films, Zendaya starred in another Disney comedy series titled K.C. Undercover. The actress was only 18 years old when she starred as K.C. Cooper, a daughter of African-American spies. This was the last Zendaya Disney role that the public saw before her acting career ventured to other areas.



In 2017, Zendaya took her acting talents to the big screen as she landed the role of Michelle “MJ” Jones in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. After two years, Zendaya reprised her role as Spider-Man’s love interest in Spider-Man: Far From Home. She starred alongside Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel Jackson, and other notable Marvel stars.

Notably, Holland and Zendaya displayed undeniable chemistry both on and off-screen. They were even spotted spending time together outside of shoots. The public also gushed over their adorable social media posts of each other. 

Despite the public and media’s suspicions of their romantic involvement, it was later confirmed that the rumors of Zendaya dating Holland weren’t true. In an interview with Elle, Holland was asked whether he was dating Zendaya. The real-life Peter Parker said that he wasn’t involved with anyone and is focused on his career. 


The Greatest Showman

Zendaya continued to awe the public as she took on another major role in the 2017 film The Greatest Showman. She starred as Anne Wheeler, joining other famous actors such as Zac Efron and Hugh Jackman for the film’s lineup. Her character, Wheeler, is a talented trapeze artist. Zendaya amazed audiences with her performance, opting to do as many of her own stunts as she could for her role.

Aside from her acting and stunt skills, the brilliant black actress also showed off her singing talents in the film. She performed a duet entitled Rewrite the Stars with Zac Efron. Moreover, she also sang Come Alive with Hugh Jackman and the rest of the cast. 



Over the years, Zendaya has been able to take on various opportunities throughout her career thus far. Indeed, she showcased her talents in different ways that awed both the public and the critics. In 2019, she surprised fans by straying away from her Disney image and taking on a less conservative role for HBO’s Euphoria.

In Euphoria, Zendaya portrays Rue Bennett, a teenager in high-school addicted to drug use who is struggling to find herself. Compared to her previous projects, Zendaya’s role in Euphoria is notably heavy and provocative. Nevertheless, this did not deter the actress, as her performance in Euphoria was well-received.

Zendaya was also able to reap the fruits of her hard work and talent as she received multiple nominations for her role as Rue. She received a nomination for Broadcast Film Critics Association’s Best Actress in a Drama Series award. Additionally, Gold Derby TV Awards nominated Zendaya for the Best Drama Actress category.

Aside from winning an Emmy for Best Lead Actress in a drama series, the Black Reel Awards also bestowed Zendaya the Outstanding Actress award. Moreover, the actress also received the Favorite Drama TV Star award from USA People’s Choice Awards in 2019.

Without a doubt, Zendaya has proven her talents with all of her previous character portrayals. The black actress also continues to be a role model as she represents both the youth and the Black community. Even though she has successfully made a name for herself, many are still looking forward to what else Zendaya can achieve in the years to come.


Best Zendaya Instagram Posts

Aside from her remarkable talent, people also appreciate Zendaya for her natural beauty. Many admire the black actress for her charm, fashion sense, and photogenic qualities. One might even argue that she deserves an award just for taking the best selfies.

Here are some of Zendaya’s best Instagram posts that captured her innate beauty and style:



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Thank you sun

A post shared by Zendaya (@zendaya) on

This Instagram photo truly captured Zendaya’s natural beauty. The snapshot shows the actress in minimal make-up paired with a simple bun hairstyle and white blouse. The sun’s natural light further enhanced her natural looks and made her look even more glowing.


Old Hollywood Look

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Zendaya’s old Hollywood hair-do showed her amazing take on how to style short hair. The Spider-Man actress’ red lipstick also accentuated the vintage look that she was going for.


Bikini Selfie

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Fans loved this Zendaya bikini picture that is both effortless and lovely. In a yellow bikini top and black baseball cap, the star shared a smile as she enjoyed her day out in the sun.


Zendaya Met Gala Outfit

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On the 2018 Met Gala night, the award-winning actress showed off her stylish outfit, channeling Saint Joan of Arc with her look. Zendaya looked truly regal in her Versace gown. Along with her accessories, her gown also had a metallic finish that dazzled as she moved. To finish her whole ensemble, Zendaya wore a cropped wig and rings.


Natural Curls

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What carefree looks like

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This Zendaya natural hair picture made many people wish they had the same hairstyle. The black actress let her natural, loose curls sway as she described the look to be “what carefree looks like.”


Zendaya Red Hair

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Face it, Tiger…

A post shared by Zendaya (@zendaya) on

In this Instagram picture, Zendaya seemed to have convinced a lot of people that she definitely looks great in any hairstyle or outfit. Her natural, loose curls were styled into a sleeker, straighter fashion. Moreover, the red locks show just how well the actress can pull off the classic MJ look from the original Spider-Man comics. 


Pretty in Pink

Zendaya looked pretty in pink on the Spider-Man: Homecoming Red Carpet World Premiere. Her neon pink gown and matching pink heels made her stand out from the rest at the event.

Aside from her natural beauty and dazzling outfit, Zendaya also displayed her quirky side in this Instagram photo. Her caption reads: “Then the legend that is Michael Keaton helped me with my dress….night made.” Indeed, the picture showed a playful pose of her shrugging as her Homecoming co-star casually holds the end of her dress. 


Braided Beauty

A break from the Zendaya curly hair look was taken as she posted this photo of her sporting beautiful braids. Unsurprisingly, the actress pulled off the look as she also utilized the sun’s natural light to glow even more. Additionally, her white top and gold jewelry accentuated her simple yet striking beauty.


Red and Fierce

Fans gushed over this Zendaya sexy picture as she owned the color red with her dazzling outfit. The actress stunned her Instagram fans with a lacy, satin dress that highlighted her curves well. Additionally, her hoop earrings and red lipstick made her look even fiercer and undeniably stunning.


Final Thoughts

From her reputation as a teenage Disney star, Zendaya has evolved to become an acclaimed award-winning actress. Her talents truly paved the way for her to develop her career and improve her craft. As she made history by becoming the youngest actress to win an Emmy award in her category, many continue to be on the edge of their seats as they anticipate more of the black actress’ future projects and achievements.