Zendaya’s Impact on Young Hollywood: Beyond the Screen


Nov. 9 2023, Published 5:11 p.m. ET

At only 28, Zendaya Coleman is one of the most promising actresses in Hollywood. She is the present and future of the industry. In 2022, she was included in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of 2022. The recognition highlights her influence and how she exercises it over society. The actress and model has a commitment that goes beyond the screen.

“To me, Zendaya is a thousand years old. She has already lived many lives before this one. And yet, she is as young as springtime,” said Denis Villeneuve, the director of Dune, in her Time profile. “By some inextricable paradox, she also gives the impression of having been born sometime far into the future. She is timeless, and she can do it all.”

Her Various Commitments

Zendaya has been an idol of an entire generation since her first steps in Hollywood. She uses her popularity to give voice to her commitments. She’s always pointing out the lack of representation of black womenn in American cinema. Zendaya is also a big donor. An example was when she collected a million dollars for the victims of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Should we also discuss her $50,000 donation to Women’s Empowerment in 2016?

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More so, she is a renowned feminist and social activist. She was present at the Women’s March in 2018. Zendaya is also involved with the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Born to a father from Zimbabwe and a German mother, Zendaya has always proudly embraced her African-American roots. We've seen her denouncing racism more than once.

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But notably in 2015, the host of the Academy Awards, Guiliana Rancic, criticized her for appearing at the event in dreads. He deemed them “unacceptable” for an Oscars red carpet. Zendaya was quick to react on her social media handle, explaining why these comments were offensive and racist. Her look that evening nevertheless earned her a Barbie in her likeness, the first doll from the brand to wear dreads!

She Made Disney Channel More Inclusive

The star of “Shake It Up,” the soap opera of our adolescence, moved to the producer side after its dazzling success. Zendaya produced “Agent KC,” a Disney series in which she played a role. Thanks to her growing influence, she prompted the production to change the title and the main character’s first name and to add a family of color for more inclusiveness and representation.

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Her Impact on Fashion

Beyond the impeccable work done in recent films such as “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Malcolm & Marie” or in a series of the stature of “Euphoria,” Zendaya has an innate talent for fashion. She’s demonstrated this incessantly in recent years on red carpets and in all types of events and informal outings.

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Little wonder she is an ambassador for brands like Valentino and Lancôme. Worthy of mention also, is she is a style icon for Generation Z in her own right.

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