If you love Zendaya, then you must read this interview. It's kind of long, but she talks about everything! She talks about the weird thing that she's afraid of, her 7th grade eyebrow disaster, going to high school with an 8-year-old, and her advice for girls.
Q: How would you describe K. C.?
Zendaya: K. C. is just a regular girl. What I think is so exciting about her is the fact that she’s just a regular teenager who was put in this really irregular type situation and lifestyle, and I think she kind of just has to make the best out of it. But I love the fact that she’s kind of awkward. She’s not the coolest person in school. She’s not very popular, but is able to be cool and popular through her spy work. She’s able to use all these things that kind of made her nerdy.
Q: Would you be friends with her?
Zendaya: Absolutely. I think we’re like the same person. In fact, somebody who is close to me was telling me, “It’s funny. On TV you act a lot more like yourself.” And I was like, “Yeah. I do,” because I feel like she’s a lot like me. She has a lot of characteristics like me, which makes her easier to play and easier to understand.
Q: K. C. is a math and tech whiz. How does that help her in her spying?
Zendaya: It helps her be more problem-solving. The fact that she’s able to think on her feet and solve things with her mind . . . you know, it’s like brain exercise. She’s really sharp.
Q: How about the fight training? Has that been difficult?
Zendaya: Well, fight training is never super-easy, especially when you’re not a martial artist. That’s not where I started. So for me, I think of it like dancing. It’s like learning new dance choreography, but only you’re punching someone.
Q: Out of acting and dancing and singing and writing, is one talent your favorite?
Zendaya: Honestly I don’t have a favorite. I always try to find time to balance all of them because I think it’s really important if you want to be an entertainer to give each of your arts time and be able to enjoy all of them. That’s the same for acting, singing, dancing, even visual art as well. So I try to find time for everything.
Q: What career would you follow if you had never been famous?
Zendaya: I feel like my life kind of happened for a reason and everything is the way it is for a reason and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. But I’d maybe want to do something that involves kids. I don’t know if it would be teaching or, you know, coming up with an organization that helps younger people.
Q: What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
Zendaya: Honestly . . . ok, here’s the thing. I’m not a huge experimenter. I’m definitely more of a cheese pizza and fries type of girl. I don’t like to get too crazy. Plus I’m a vegetarian, so any of those super-weird foods I can’t eat.
Q: What is it like going to school on the set of your show?
Zendaya: Well, I go to high school in a classroom with me, Kamil, who’s also 18, and an eight-year-old. [Laughter.] Which is very strange, but it’s funny. It’s also kind of hard because, you know, there are certain things that we’re learning that she hasn’t learned yet. So there’s certain stuff that I can’t really talk about because it’s something that’s way beyond where she’s at right now and it’ll confuse her. But it’s also cool because there’s a lot of teaching moments and she can learn from us being in the classroom as well.
Q: How do you balance your life as a celebrity with just your normal life?
Zendaya: Honestly, all I do is I just do regular kid stuff. It’s like all in a state of mind. For me, I don’t feel like I’m a celebrity or anything like that. I just feel like I’m a regular kid. So what do regular teenagers do? We go to the movies, and we hang out with our friends and that’s honestly what I do. I don’t do anything that special.
Q: Do you have advice for younger girls who look up to you as a role model?
Zendaya: My number one piece of advice is always not to grow up too fast, to enjoy the years that you have as, you know, a 12-year-old because they go by so fast. The next thing you know you’re an 18-year-old and you have to worry about so much and think about so much more. So just enjoy the age that you are. And that’s even when you get older. When you’re 18, enjoy being 18. You don’t want to be 21 yet.
Q: Do you have a motto or a quote that you live by?
Zendaya: My motto is always DFTS. It means “don’t forget to smile” because I think smiling is just a really powerful thing.
Q: When you were little, did you have a word that you couldn’t pronounce?
Zendaya: Milk. I used to say chocolate mook.
Q: If you could invent an ice cream flavor, what would you invent?
Zendaya: It would be . . . “Nutella Greatness." Maybe it would be vanilla ice cream with Nutella in it. Maybe do a version with caramel. But it all has Nutella with multiple different kinds of things inside.
Q: What’s your biggest fear?
Zendaya: You know, I don’t know why I’m so afraid of flies. It’s not that I’m afraid of them. They’re just really, really annoying and they drive me crazy. But the thing is I feel bad killing them. So I either make my friends kill them or my dad or something. [Laughter.] Or I just let them be . . . like, especially at night time when it’s dark and they, like, buzz around you. I have this irrational fear that they’re going to crawl in my nose. I don’t know.
Q: What’s your favorite holiday or summer activity?
Zendaya: I love vacations. I love going on vacations with my family usually to somewhere tropical. I like that weather where you don’t need a jacket. You just walk around with a tank top and it’s comfortable even at night time. Honestly, I like doing absolutely nothing. Laying by the beach, going to the pool, like just chilling out because sometimes I work so much and I do so much all the time that not doing something is a strange feeling and it’s exciting. I think one of my favorites was when I went to Jamaica. The culture was really awesome, like the music, food, everything out there is really great. And then on top of that, the water is warm. I’m not a huge fan of cold ocean water, so the fact that the water was warm was very exciting.
Q: Do you have a first-day-of-school memory?
Zendaya: Oh, yeah. I remember, It was my first day of seventh grade. I went to get my eyebrows done the day before and the lady really messed up my eyebrows and I was so embarrassed to go to school. I cried. But I think that’s why I’m so obsessed with my eyebrows nowadays.
Q: What are your dreams and hopes for your future?
Zendaya: That’s a good question. Well, I dream to just continue to do my art but continue to spread positive messages and do good things with what I do.
Interview by Gerri Miller
Photos courtesy Disney Channel