Zendaya has often spoken candidly about being a black woman in Hollywood but now she has revealed that she drew on her experiences in an effort to encourage the industry to be more representative.
What my white peers would be able to get away with at this point in their career is not something that I will be able to do, the 21-year-old said.
And I knew that from when I was real young. Thats just the truth, and so youll be kind of afraid of making mistakes because I love what I do. I dont want to jeopordise it at any point because I am not allowed the room to mess up.
The actress has been praised for her seamless transition from Disney star to burgeoning actress, and she took on a variety of roles from The Greatest Showman to Spider-Mans love interest Mary Jane – a role, she says, that wasnt originally written for a black girl.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, she went into the audition anyway – hoping to be chosen. Speaking to Marie Claire, she said: I didnt know that they were going to be more diverse in the casting, she reveals. I didnt know that I was walking into a situation where they were already breaking the rules. You get so used to having to break the rules for people.
The actress said she was keen to open the door to more black women who dont necessarily look like her.
This isnt the first time the actress pushed the conversation about colourism. At Beauticon festival this year, she talked about the importance of using her privilege to demonstrate the variety of beauty in the African American community. She said:
As a black woman, as a light-skinned black woman, its important that Im using my privilege, my platform to show how much beauty there is in the African-American community. I am Hollywoods, I guess you could say, acceptable version of a black girl and that needs to change. Were vastly too beautiful and too interesting for me to be the only representation of that.
When she was on the cover of Cosmo in 2016, she also spoke about colourism: I feel a responsibility to be a voice for the beautiful shades my people come in. Unfortunately, I have a bit of a privilege compared to my darker sisters and brothers.
Can I honestly say that Ive had to face the same racism and struggles as a woman with darker skin? No, I cannot. I have not walked in her shoes and that is unfair of me to say. But Im completely behind that woman. I want to be a part of the movement and growth.
And if I get put in a position because of the colour of my skin where people will listen to me, then I should use that privilege the right way.
You can read the entire interview on the Marie Claire website.
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