If you're still a Disney kid at heart, you're not alone. Zendaya, who starred on the sitcom Shake It Up and then K.C. Undercover from 2013 to 2018, spoke out about her eternal tie to the network in a new interview. While some stars try to distance themselves from their Disney image, Zendaya's quotes about being a "Disney kid" did anything but.
In a joint interview with Carey Mulligan for Variety, Zendaya explained why she isn't ashamed of her Disney roots, and still attributes much of her success to the children's network.
“The thing is, I am [a Disney kid]. And to a degree, I am grateful for that. That’s where I started, and I learned so much from that experience,” she shared. “It’s just kind of been this slow progression, and I am happy that it’s all been to prove it to myself and not to anybody else, you know? I embrace it a little bit. It’s part of my heritage to a degree," she added.
Zendaya has slowly been shedding her Disney Channel-approved, innocent image, with roles in movies like The Greatest Showman and Spider-Man and then her Emmy-winning role in HBO's dark drama Euphoria. Similarly, her Shake It Up co-star Bella Thorne swapped her good girl Disney image for a more "IDGAF" one — if you will — including an OnlyFans career and explicit music releases.
The eye-opening interview didn't mark the first time Zendaya reflected on her Disney days. While she's proud of her roots, she's admitted the transition from Disney darling to film actor was difficult.
"There’s a lot I want to do in the movie world," she told Glamour in October 2017. "Having a Disney past sometimes makes it difficult for people to take you seriously, so I have to pick the right projects, make sure I do the right things, take my time. And then I want to produce and create shows and movies, whether or not I’m starring in them. You know when you watch a show and you’re like, 'That’s so good. I wish I’d made it?' Why not? Why not make it?"
As of 2020, Zendaya is an Emmy-winning actress, but she still wears her Disney tag proudly.