How Zendaya is a shining example of a Hollywood star

Zendaya poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Challengers' on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in London. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
Zendaya is one of the biggest stars of the moment. (AP)

Zendaya is one of the biggest actors in Hollywood now, and quite rightly. Her star has risen exponentially since she first began her career as a Disney star, and this is thanks to more than just her talent as an actor but also her continued poise and grace the more she is thrust into the public eye.

The actor has become a dominant force in the box office, and is as much a draw for cinema-goers as the likes of young stars like Timothée Chalamet, Florence Pugh, or her off-screen partner Tom Holland. Why is this? Well firstly she's a great actor, that much is proven by her performances in the Dune franchise and her Emmy-winning turn in Euphoria, but she also knows how to win over a crowd.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 15: Timothée Chalamet and  Zendaya attend the World Premiere of
Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya attend the World Premiere of Dune: Part Two on February 15, 2024, where Zendaya wore a very futuristic outfit. (Getty Images)

There are many aspects of Zendaya's presence on and off screen that is magnetic, but this is especially felt when she steps out onto a red carpet. The actor is always the talk of the town when she does, thanks to the striking looks she chooses to wear on the red carpet.

Zendaya works as a model so she certainly knows how to sell a garment, heck she'd probably be able to convince audiences that a paper bag can be beautiful but it's her unique sense of style that makes her so exciting to see on a red carpet. This is the result of her fortuitous collaboration with fashion stylish Law Roach, who has also worked with Céline Dion and Anya Taylor-Joy in the past.

Read more: What we know about Zendaya’s new movie Challengers

Together they have successfully turned heads, from her revealing robotic armour look at the Dune Part Two premiere to her many tennis-themed outfits she has worn to promote Luca Guadagnino's Challengers.

Luca Guadagnino, Josh OÕConnor, Zendaya, Mike Faist attend Photocall Movie Challengers, Rome, Italy. 08th Apr, 2024. Credit: massimo insabato/Alamy Live News
Zendaya has often impressed on the red carpet, including for Challengers which she has worn countless tennis-themed outfits to help promote. (Alamy Live News)

It's not just movie premieres, Zendaya always stuns at events like the Met Gala where she wore an incredibly intricate armoured look inspired by Joan of Arc for Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination theme in 2018. And let us not forget her gorgeous Cinderella-inspired gown that she wore at the fashion event in 2019, which lit up.

Zendaya 04/20/2024 Amazon MGM “Challengers” Press Conference held at The Maybourne Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, CA Photo by Izumi Hasegawa/Hollywood News Wire Inc. Credit: Hollywood News Wire Inc./Alamy Live News
Zendaya pictured at a press conference for Challengers. (Alamy Live News)

Given she first began her career with 2010 Disney Channel series Shake It Up, Zendaya has a lot of experience answering questions and expertly ensuring that whatever she is asked she is able to bring it back to what matters: her career.

Zendaya navigates questions thrown her way well, particularly when it comes to her relationship with Holland. The pair choose to keep their private life just that, private, but whenever she is asked Zendaya aptly finds a way to answer it in a way that helps keep it that way, but also makes readers and her fans understand why it's important to do that.

In a 2023 interview with Elle, for example, Zendaya approached the subject of her relationship in a thoughtful way by saying: "I can't not be a person and live my life and love the person I love. But also, I do have control over what I choose to share.

"It's about protecting the peace and letting things be your own but also not being afraid to exist. You can't hide. That's not fun, either. I am navigating it more than ever now."

Watch: The trailer for Challengers

The actor is also not afraid to call things out that she thinks are unreasonable. One such question Zendaya often gets asked is about her feelings over kissing her co-stars, she was asked multiple times about doing this with Chalamet in Dune Part Two and has continued to have the same question aimed at her for Challengers — where she, Josh O'Connor and Mike Faist share a three-way kiss.

In an interview with Jake Hamilton, Zendaya called the experience of being repeatedly asked about kissing scenes "very odd", adding: "I don’t know if it’s because they want it to be a viral thing, I don’t know. But I have noticed that, with me specifically.

"I feel like other actors don’t… if you were with somebody else here, you probably wouldn’t be asked that question. But, yeah, it is a part of my job, and it is a completely normal part of the job, I think, despite other people’s perceptions of our job."

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 16: Zendaya attends the Los Angeles Premiere of Amazon MGM Studios
Every since her debut on Disney Channel's Shake It Up, Zendaya has shown how hard she works for every role she takes on. (FilmMagic)

Another thing that is impressive about Zendaya, and has been for some time, is her determination to take a role and give the best performance possible. This can be seen with her latest film Challengers, where she plays tennis pro-turned-coach Tashi.

Zendaya learned how to play tennis specifically for the role, joking with British Vogue that she was so unfamiliar with the sport before that “the first little while was getting the basics, trying to understand it, trying to just hit the f**king thing”. She did this through a lot of practice and hard work, and also by seeing the sport as a dance and memorising her athletic double as if it were dance choreography.

She also took time to watch tennis matches, appearing at events with Holland where she would study the players in front of her to help inform her own performance in Challengers. Though she has readily admitted her interest in the sport lies firmly with Venus and Serena Williams.

USA. Zendaya  in a scene from the (C)United Artists Releasing new movie : Challengers (2023) . Plot: Follows three players who knew each other when they were teenagers as they compete in a tennis tournament to be the world-famous grand slam winner, and reignite old rivalries on and off the court. Ref: LMK110-J10030-270623 Supplied by LMKMEDIA. Editorial Only. Landmark Media is not the copyright owner of these Film or TV stills but provides a service only for recognised Media outlets.
Zendaya pictured in Challengers, she learned how to play tennis for the role and saw learning the tennis moves as a dance. (MGM)

The actor always gives it her all when she takes on a role, but she also works hard to know what it's like behind the camera as well. She did this on Challengers with Guadagnino, for which she has a producer credit, and for Dune with Denis Villeneuve.

Villeneuve said he wouldn't be surprised if Zendaya rose to the challenge of directing her own film one day, saying she was "always on set even when she was not shooting. Just sitting between [cinematographer] Greg [Fraser] and I listening, listening and listening."

Speaking to CNN about doing similar for Challengers, Zendaya said: "The more time I spend in front of the camera, the more I enjoy being behind it. Being surrounded by Luca it helped me gain confidence. It was a beautiful place to learn and to really feel like I had a voice and a seat at the table.”

Zendaya has certainly cracked Hollywood but she's also becoming a shining example of what a star can be, meaning it would be exciting to see what she creates if she chooses to go behind the camera.

Challengers premieres in cinemas on Friday, 26 April.