Despite being a global superstar, Emmy-winning actress, and perpetual fashion icon, Zendaya is her own toughest critic. From the outside looking in, it may seem like she has it all "figured out," she tells InStyle editor in chief Laura Brown on this week's episode of Ladies First with Laura Brown, but she's just a human in "a constant state of metamorphosis and growth."
"We're all human beings trying to figure it out as we go, and grow," she says. "[It's] never too late to grow, learn more, develop new skills, and start a new chapter in your life. There's so many things that I hope to do in my future that may have nothing to do with what I'm doing now."
In fact, the Dune actress hasn't even really had a defining moment, where she has felt like she 'made it.' "I always feel like there's so much I have to do, or I have left to do. There's always something else," she says before adding that there have been some moments where she's thought, "'Whoa, this is fucking cool.'"
"There's moments just in general, where you kind of take a step back and look at what you get to do for a living," she explains. "I remember being [in] The Greatest Showman, and I'm on this trapeze this pink wig and Hugh Jackman [is there]. This is my job, you know. You just zoom out and you're like, 'This is so crazy.'"
Our November cover star's persistent desire for discovery has actually motivated her to pick up a few hobbies during the pandemic (which she recalls made her question who she was without her job). One passion that she believes she has a knack for is painting, and her Euphoria co-star and dear friend Hunter Schafer got her hooked.
"She's one of the most special people in my life," explains Zendaya. "She went to art school —she's a phenomenal artist — she took me to the art store and got me the proper tools for oil paints, the correct primary colors, and all the things I would need to do it the right way."
Zendaya Opens Up About Her Favorite Looks, Why She Sometimes Goes Silent on Social Media, and How She Saw Spider-Man On Her Very First Date: Episode 43: October 12, 2021
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And doing it the "right way" seems to be a theme for the star. She tells Brown her sign (Virgo) might be to blame, but she's a bit of perfectionist, especially when it comes to her work.
"If it's not perfect and the best, well then I might as well have not even done it," she explains. "It's deeply disappointing to me. I think that's my gift and my curse: I don't really allow myself the space to make mistakes. And here's the thing, they're not even mistakes, right? It was fine, but it's not fine to me, you know?"
She's not alone in her desire to get every take perfect, though. Zendaya tells Brown that her co-star — and recently confirmed boyfriend — Tom Holland is also a perfectionist on set. "I just watched him do a fight scene all day — exhausting," she explains. "He'd do a move, and then he'd come back to the monitors and watch it and be like, 'I can do that better.' Me, I'd be like, 'Dude, you got it, you got it.' But he wants us to be perfect."
She adds that she greatly admires how much he has embraced his title and immense pressure that comes along with portraying a superhero.
"He really cares. It's a lot of pressure, you take on the role of a superhero wherever you go now. To the little kid who walks by, you are Spider-Man to them. I think he handled that so well."
While she shares this small glimpse into her personal life — and a few other moments — on the podcast, fans might be bummed to hear that she's not about to blast it all on Instagram.
"I live a normal life, and my life just belongs to me," she says. "And then I do other things that are work that belong to my fans that I'm so grateful for and their support and love."
So for someone who seems to have it all but is really just getting started, what's next? "I would love to be able to make films that allow for young up-and-coming artists, writers, filmmakers, especially with Black talent. My dream would be able to give those opportunities, partner different upcoming filmmakers, different writers, and mentorships and be able to get them those connections."
Listen to the full episode and subscribe on Apple, PlayerFM, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts. And tune in weekly to Ladies First with Laura Brown hosted by InStyle's editor in chief Laura Brown, who speaks to guests like Michelle Pfeiffer, Emily Ratajkowski, Cynthia Erivo, Naomi Watts, La La Anthony, Ellen Pompeo, Rep. Katie Porter, and more to discuss current events, politics, some fashion, and, most importantly, the major firsts in their lives.
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