Zendaya on being a woman in Hollywood: 'I need to have my own voice'

By Alex Cramer

Zendaya may only be 19, but she is wise beyond her years. “I feel like my voice is very important,” she told HELLO! at the Maison Margiela's Smells Like Memories party in Beverly Hills. “Coming back to Disney Channel, being a producer. I need to have my own voice. Music, it has to be mine. I'm one of those people who would much rather live and die by my own choices.”

Zendaya was picture perfect at the Maison Margiela party Photo: Instagram/@Zendaya

She also knows that her voice deserves to be heard just like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lawrence when it comes to taking a stand on women’s empowerment. “I think it is really cool that people like Jennifer Lawrence and women in the industry are stepping up and shedding light on that,” she said. “You can't get away with it anymore, it's a beautiful thing and it's really cool.”

Of course one of the consequences of the fame that lets her speak out is having to live under a microscope. “I would feel more pressure if I wasn't a good person or a 'good kid,' the “Replay” singer shared. “I'm a good kid and when you play a role and you pretend to be something you're not, I think people can see right through you. You just gotta be yourself and so far people have responded to that.”

The 19-year-old is not afraid to speak up on behalf of herself and others Photo: Getty Images

Zendaya, who asked fans to raise money for UN AIDS for her 19 th birthday, gets her great inner strength and composure from her strong family bonds, especially her parents Kazembe and Claire, who are both former teachers. “I would say my parents are 100% of the reason,” she explained for being so grounded. “I have a really great support system, I have beautiful parents, brothers, sisters, little nieces, nephews, cousins, uncles – I have everything you could possibly imagine to support me and hold me down and keep my head together.”

Zendaya, with her parents, thinks teaching is "the most underpaid and underappreciated job" in the world Photo: Getty Images

But talking and saying to do the right thing can only get a person so far. “I think it's less of what they say to me and more about what they do,” she continued. “It’s actions. You could easily say, ‘Hey be a good person,’ but actually living and leading by example.”

Zendaya has also learned a great deal from Taylor Photo: Getty Images

One person who does this to a T is Zendaya’s pal Taylor Swift. “I did learn that no matter how many fans you have or how big you get you have to remain humble,” the KC Undercover star, who had a part in her much talked about “Bad Blood” video reminisced. “She treated me really well, my parents really well, anyone that was around me really well. She is just super nice. She even reached out to a younger artist, which I thought was really cool, and I thought she didn't have to do that.”

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