Zendaya is 19 going on 80.
She said it herself in Complex magazine's latest issue, and though most teenagers aim to live life in the fast lane, Zendaya is in touch with who she is. Unlike some of her Disney starlet constituents, the "Close Up" singer is keeping it classy and wants to entirely avoid what mainstream media refers to as "The Miley," or a complete unraveling through bizarre and colorful acts interpreted through art. #MilkyMilkyMilky.
But what causes these young women to defy the roles previously placed upon them? The pressure to be perfect.
"I think again it’s that real model, role model thing," Zendaya says. "A lot of them were forced into being role models and they had to pretend to be something that they didn’t feel matched up with who they were. And that’s because they started really, really young. So you’ve got to realize when you’re really young you don’t know who you are yet. And as soon as you figure it out, you’ve already been forced to become something that you didn’t really know you signed up for. So it’s like, I get it. There’s a lot of pressure, so I completely understand. Everyone has their different ways of learning and growing and finding out who they are, and you can’t fault people for that. Again, I think with all the prior Disney stars, at least you can say they are themselves now."
Complex flat out asks Zendaya if she fears of having "a Miley moment."
"No," she says. "That’s why I said, in order to avoid those problems just be yourself from the beginning and be honest with the world, because that’s the only thing you can do. There will be no surprises."
One singer Zendaya did want to emulate was the late Aaliyah. She planned on starring as the princess of R&B in a biopic on Lifetime, but backed out after she received word Aaliyah's family had no plans to support the film.
"I just didn’t like the way things were going down. There were a lot of things that came to my attention that I didn’t know about, about the family and production value. You just assume that things are taken care of when you step onto a project. But when you realize that things are just falling apart, you’re like, “This is not what I signed up for, this is not what I thought it was. This is not what I think is worthy of her movie.” It really ate me up inside. A lot of people thought that I knew that the family wasn’t involved, and I didn’t. I just auditioned like anyone else and got the job."
Zendaya felt it wouldn't honor her the right way?
"Yeah, basically," she agrees. "I just thought that it was being rushed. I thought that there was nobody who really knew her on that project at all—literally no one. I can only know so much about someone from watching their interviews. I don’t know what she was like in her kitchen talking to her mom. That would be rude of me to try to figure that out without knowing. If god forbid something were to happen to me, I wouldn’t want my parents to have to deal with that. I just felt that it was inappropriate, so I didn’t want to do it."
Read the entire interview here.