Zendaya is MJ

Some of Our Favorite Moments From the Zendaya InStyle Profile

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Zendaya is an icon for a multitude of reasons. Making a place for herself in Hollywood and fighting back against those who would rather not see her succeed, she’s become one of the biggest names in the business at just 25 years old. Talking with InStyle magazine for her film Dune, her profile is an honest look at the Spider-Man: No Way Home star and her ability to balance being a fashion icon and her down-to-Earth self that fans have gravitated towards.

Right out of the gate, I was fascinated by Zendaya’s comments on photography. Working on Euphoria, the Emmy winner clearly took to how the show is filmed from a cinematography point of view and talked about how it led to her own fascination with it.

I’ve always been interested in things behind the camera. But Euphoria really grew my love for cinematography, just watching Marcell Rév light things and make every frame gorgeous. He and [series creator] Sam Levinson build these beautifully intricate shots and put so much detail into everything. I’m a Virgo and I like to be thoughtful of everything. But watching them work inspired me to get more into photography.

For me personally, I love how much Zendaya brings up being a Virgo. I’m a Scorpio sun with a Virgo rising, so I understand her Virgo tendencies because I also have them in the way I approach work and failure.

LB: Given your self-described tendencies, do you want your work to be perfect? What makes you nervous?

Z: Messing up. Making mistakes. Not being the best I can possibly be at something. Failure. Again, that’s a Virgo thing. If something is not perfect or the best, then I feel like I might as well have not even done it. I turn something into being the worst thing, even if it was fine. But it’s not fine to me.

If you’re worried about Zendaya only starring in big blockbusters, don’t be! She’s changing Hollywood from the inside, as an Oscar voter as well as still wanting to direct and create her own stories on top of starring in big-budget films and making history.

Other than becoming a director, my dream is to create my own things. I would love to make films that allow space for young up-and-coming artists, writers, and filmmakers — because especially with Black talent, it’s not a lack thereof; it’s a lack of opportunity. I’d like to give those opportunities: Partner upcoming filmmakers with different writers and mentorships, connect them with the actors they want to see in their films, and create those special bonds. And make sure they get paid and taken care of.

Zendaya is also, currently, our MJ in the Tom Holland Spider-Man movies. While she is rumored to be dating Holland, the interview turned to Zendaya talking about her appreciation for Holland as an actor for how he approaches playing Spider-Man because, as she points out, you’re not just Spider-Man onscreen. You’re Spider-Man (or MJ) to all the kids on the streets who see you.

There are many things, obviously, that I appreciate. In an actor way, I appreciate that he really loves being Spider-Man. It’s a lot of pressure — you take on the role of a superhero wherever you go. To the little kid who walks by, you are Spider-Man. I think he handled that so well. And seeing him at work, even though he’s not a Virgo [laughs], he is a perfectionist.

Our director allowed me to come in every day [of the shoot], and it was cool to see how he cares so much about his work and making it right. I watched him do a fight scene all day, which is exhausting. He’d do a move, come back to the monitors, watch it, and say, “I can do that better.” I’d be like, “Dude, you got it.” But he wants us to be perfect, and I really appreciate that.”

And really, Zendaya is just incredibly relatable, despite her massive fame. She talks about just sitting around in the pandemic not knowing what to do because her hobbies were tied to work, so she just decided to get into painting, thanks to Euphoria costar Hunter Schafer. Honestly, I’d love to go hang out at an art store with Hunter Schafer and Zendaya.

You can read the entire profile on InStyle, and I highly recommend it! Zendaya is a powerhouse and doesn’t show any signs of stopping, and we’re excited to see what the future holds for her. Hopefully, more awards like her Emmy win.

(image: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Sony)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her current obsession is Glen Powell's dog, Brisket. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.