Even some of Hollywood's most beloved stars have to confront misconceptions about them every once and a while. Zendaya's response to people thinking she's cold & mean perfectly encapsulates her early experiences in the entertainment industry, and reinforces the old adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover." At the end of the day, the Euphoria star is actually a really nice person despite what some people may have thought of her at first.
For GQ's February 2021 cover shoot, Zendaya slayed in a series of high-fashion streetwear looks, showing off as the queen of "Zollywood." In her interview for the Jan. 11 story, however, the star shed her cool-kid persona and revealed what goes on behind the scenes of some of the industry's biggest-budget projects. She even acknowledged how some industry folks used to think she was "mean" and "cold" because she wasn't chatting all the time like some other actors.
"In this industry, I had to learn how to do small talk and stuff, because I guess I would kind of come off cold to people because I didn't really know how to start conversation," Zendaya said of her career beginnings. She recalled a moment when a stylist told her how important small talk was in Hollywood, but Zendaya said her own silence was actually due to nerves. "I just was too nervous."
The 24-year-old is known by Gen Z for her relatable characters, like in Euphoria and Shake It Up, but it seems Zendaya wasn't always prepared to be a star behind the scenes. She did note something else in the interview that could point to why she had early concerns about seeming "cold" or "mean" to her industry peers. The star brought up getting approached by families who have said their kids watch her, and while it fills her with so much joy, she still sits with her thoughts afterwards and "[Doesn't want] to let anybody down."
"I think ... that me wanting to control everything is just not wanting to fuck up," Zendaya said about her public image. It's certainly something most celebrities grapple with, but often keep behind closed doors: How does a superstar with juggle a public image and responsibility to fans with their own aspirations? When fans approach her, she's most aware of it all. "I feel like everyone at that moment becomes my auntie, and I’m just like, ‘Oh, my God, I want to make you proud.’"