Zendaya covers GQ’s latest issue, and inside, she opens up about how she’s dealing with her superstardom at 24, and what’s next.
She also reveals that being in the limelight didn’t come naturally to her. “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 tells the publication for its February issue. “I remember my stylist was like, 'You come off kind of cold. People think you're mean because you don't talk,' when really I just was too nervous.”
Now, she’s more comfortable, especially with people she knows. “With my family and friends, I can go back and forth on a topic for no reason,” she says. “I'm not actually winning anything here, but I like to go back and forth just to make sure that my point is heard, make sure my point has gotten across, which is similar, in many ways, to Marie.”
Marie is the character she plays opposite John David Washington in Malcolm & Marie, a Netflix drama.
After skyrocketing to fame in Spider-Man and Euphoria, Zendaya reveals that the pandemic left her without a packed schedule. She says: “It was the first time since I was 13 that I didn't go back to something. There was no structure. It was my first time just being like, ‘Okay, who am I without this?’ Which is a very scary thing to confront and work through, because I don't really know Zendaya outside of the Zendaya who works. I didn't realize how much my job and my art were a part of my identity as a human.”
The Emmy winner says she knows that even her smallest decisions are closely watched: “I'm just like, ‘Oh, my God, I want to make you proud.' You know? But that stuff really means a lot to me. I think…that me wanting to control everything is just not wanting to f–k up. Not wanting to let anybody down.”