Zendaya burst onto the scene staring in the Disney Channel show Shake It Up in 2010 and hasn’t let her sparkle dull since. Starring in two TV shows, competing on Dancing With The Stars, co-starring in the most recent Spider-Man film, and absolutely killing the game every time she steps on the red carpet, it seems like there’s nothing she can’t do.
Born in Oakland, California, she got her start appearing as a child model and back up dancer before getting spotted by Disney. Everyone knew her as Rocky Blue from Shake it Up, even after the show ended in 2013. In 2015 she jumped behind the camera as well, where she helped produce the next show she was going to star in, K.C. Undercover.
In the mix of all of this, she was also getting a start on her music career. Her self-titled album was released in 2013, and in 2015 producer Timbaland confirmed that they were working together on her second album, Something New.
You might have heard something about Zendaya when Giuliana Rancic commented that her hair looked like it smelled of “patchouli oil and weed” after she wore it in dread locs to the 87th Academy Awards.
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Zendaya showed the world she was ready for the big leagues when she responded to the criticism on Instagram and informed Rancic that several successful artists have locs and it has nothing to do with drugs.
As a little cherry on top, Mattel honored her with her own Barbie that was replicating the look from that night.
After making her feature film debut in Spider-man: Homecoming, she went on to star alongside Hugh Jackman and Zac Effron in The Greatest Showman, where she once again got to show off her singing talents.
She has a few more movies in the works and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon, so in the meantime we’ve gathered some of her best inspirational advice and most unapologetic quotes:
1. Zendaya on how she gets her hair so curly.
“Water. I know it’s crazy right!!” — Zendaya
2. Reminding us to stick together no matter what
“I think women are very powerful and I think we’re more powerful together than separate.” — Zendaya
3. Showing us how she deals with negativity
“For anyone who feels the need to hate, just know I’m looking at my phone like #GirlBye” — Zendaya
4. Making sure she uses her voice to the best of her ability
“It’s important to raise your voice in things you feel passionate about and things that you know about. Don’t raise your voice just to raise your voice if you have nothing behind it and don’t know what you’re talking about.” — Zendaya
5. She knows her worth and wants us to know ours
“I have standards I don’t plan on lowering for anybody, including myself” — Zendaya
6. On thinking before you speak
“I love hearing educated people talk and just shut everyone up. Knowledge is always the loudest voice” — Zendaya
7. On how she’s not a role model
“I think it’s a responsibility, but like Tupac Shakur, I’m a real model. Which means: I’m not pretending to be something that I’m not, because like he said, people are going to be disappointed when they find out who you are, because it’s not going to be what you presented to the world. So just keep it real. I’m a good kid and that’s all.” — Zendaya
8. The most relatable thing ever
“I’m a chocolate addict” — Zendaya
9. On how times have changed
“There are so many different definitions of ‘pretty.’ it’s so much broader than before. The old pretty is boring- nobody cares anymore.” — Zendaya
10. On being a feminist
“A feminist is a person who believes in the power of women just as much as they believe in the power of anyone else. It’s equality, it’s fairness, and I think it’s a great thing to be a part of.” — Zendaya
11. Letting us all know self-confidence is a journey
“My number one thing is that it doesn’t just happen. You shouldn’t feel discouraged if you’re not waking up and feeling amazing about yourself. That’s not necessarily how it works. It doesn’t take one shopping spree to give you that confidence. It’s a developing process. Everyone goes at their own speed… As long as you take every opportunity to learn more about yourself and fall more in love with yourself every day, you’re doing good.” — Zendaya
12. She knows her words can get her very far in life
“I’ve always learned how to deal with my problems through my words, through my education, and through my intelligence, which I think is important and the best way to deal with an issue.” — Zendaya
13. If she can wear whatever the hell she wants so can we
“I’ve gotten to a point with fashion where I just don’t care. I wear and I do what I want because I like it, because I am confident in it, because it makes me feel good. That’s the only way you can do it.” — Zendaya
14. We all need to remind ourselves of this
“Relax, stop overdoing it, and just breathe for a second.” — Zendaya
15. Preaching the same thing about makeup we’ve all been trying to say
“I’m very proud of my skin and my face, and I have no problem not wearing makeup. I don’t wear makeup because I feel like I need to cover myself up or because I don’t feel confident. I wear makeup because it’s fun; it’s like painting on my face.” — Zendaya
16. Inspiring all of us to try our own thing
“I’m one of those people who doesn’t follow trends. I set them.” — Zendaya
17.On growing up biracial
“You get the best and the worst of both worlds. I know there were a lot of times when you try to figure out where you fit in. I just realized that it worked to my advantage because I just got along with a lot of people. But to literally be two races, it’s really hard to see color because I’m the gray area. I had to learn about both sides of myself and be really proud of and educated in both.” — Zendaya
18. She’s truly the most upfront celeb out there
“If you pretend to be a role, one day that role is going to break. You’re going to want to be yourself, and people are going to be really disappointed finding out you’re not who you’ve been living your life to be. Just keep it real and be yourself — that’s what people gravitate toward.” — Zendaya
19. When she taught us that age is just a number
“You don’t have to be older to live your dreams, you can do it at any age.” — Zendaya
20. Encouraging us to make our own choices
“Personally, I would much rather live and die by my own hand. If my stuff sucks, then at least I made it suck. I didn’t allow some person, some old dude in a suit, to make it suck for me.” — Zendaya
21. She just wants the best for her fans
“You cannot allow other people’s opinions, comments, or decisions affect how you feel about yourself.” — Zendaya
22. We’re all perfect in her eyes
“There is no such thing as ugly. That’s a word that doesn’t really enter my vocabulary. If there’s any definition to being perfect, you’re perfect at being yourself.” — Zendaya
23. It’s okay to love yourself
“I would say my number one tip is to know that it’s okay to be in love with yourself. That’s not a bad thing. People might think it’s cocky, or arrogant, or selfish — no, that’s not what that means. Being in love with yourself is okay.” — Zendaya
24. The best advice she could give any of us
“Find something that makes you happy and go for it” — Zendaya
If you’re searching for the best quotes and memes to share with the people you love (or just want to feel inspired yourself) … look no further! From the sweetest love quotes, inspirational sayings, and hilarious friendship truths, we’ve got you covered.
Josie Fuller is a writer who studies Journalism and Women’s Studies at The University of Florida. When she’s not researching new things to write about, she enjoys spending her time watching Bob’s Burgers and baking.