Zendaya Explained Why She Feels A “Heavy Responsibility On Her Shoulders” As A Black Woman And “Young Disney Actor”

Zendaya Explained Why She Feels A “Heavy Responsibility On Her Shoulders” As A Black Woman And “Young Disney Actor”

“I didn’t have the room to make a mistake,” she said. “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.”

Zendaya has opened up about being a young Black woman in Hollywood, explaining that she still feels a “heavy responsibility” on her shoulders to not make any mistakes.


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The Euphoria actor recently sat down with the Hollywood Reporter for the Drama Actress Roundtable, along with Reese Witherspoon, Janelle Monáe, Jennifer Aniston, Helena Bonham Carter, and Rose Byrne.


The Hollywood Reporter

When asked about the pressure — “almost to the point of paralysis” — of picking her next job, Zendaya revealed that she’s her own biggest critic and felt like she “didn’t have the room to make a mistake” in the industry.


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She said: “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. But I also wanted to prove myself.”

She added that taking on the role of Rue in the critically-acclaimed show Euphoria helped “those fears [melt] away” and encouraged her to push herself out of her comfort zone.

Elaborating on her comment about not having room to make a mistake, Zendaya explained that the pressure is “constant”, particularly as a Black woman and a young Disney actor.


Disney

“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.”

Speaking about how her fears faded away after she settled into her role on Euphoria, Zendaya added: “They don’t come back until it starts airing, which is when I started to get a little scared again. But now, I’m excited to go back because the motivation is to work harder and become a better actress. I just want to get better.”

However, despite her love for the role, Zendaya admitted that she still feels a “heavy responsibility” to make sure she’s doing the right thing.

“I’m just figuring it out as I go, trying to do the best I can,” Zendaya said before going on to acknowledge the serious topics that Euphoria covers.


HBO

She continued: “I just wanted to make sure that my fans knew, even the ones who were my age or older than me, that I still felt their support even if they felt that the material was too triggering for them or if they didn’t feel ready or comfortable watching.”

“I didn’t want to limit [myself] as an artist,” she added. “I want to be able to do the things that I want to do and play the roles that I want to play.”

But, despite the pressure and responsibility, Zendaya revealed she wants to continue using her platform for positive change and to bring more diverse voices and stories into the mix.


Jp Yim / Getty Images

She said: “Hopefully I’ll be in a space like these lovely ladies, where I can create the things and make space for women that look like me, women that don’t look like me, and tell the stories that I wanna see be told. That’s the ultimate goal.”

You can watch the full Drama Actress Roundtable here.

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