Zendaya (age: 22) is an actress and singer known as Rocky Blue on Disney Shake It Up, as K.C. Cooper in Disney K.C. Undercover, for the Marvel Spider-Man: Homecoming and the musical drama film The Greatest Showman.
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Zendaya (born September 1, 1996 as Zendaya Coleman), is an American actress and singer. She began her career appearing as a child model and backup dancer before gaining prominence for her role as Rocky Blue on the Disney Channel sitcom Shake It Up (2010–2013). In 2013, Zendaya was a contestant on the sixteenth season of the competition series Dancing with the Stars. She currently produces and stars as K.C. Cooper in the Disney Channel sitcom K.C. Undercover (2015–2018). She made her film breakthrough in 2017, starring as Michelle “MJ” Jones in the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero film Spider-Man: Homecoming and as Anne Wheeler in the musical drama film The Greatest Showman.
Zendaya began her career in music by recording songs independently and releasing the singles “Swag It Out” and “Watch Me” in 2011, the latter a collaboration with Bella Thorne. She signed with Hollywood Records in 2012 and later released her debut single, “Replay”, which reached number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. Zendaya’s self-titled debut studio album (2013) debuted at number 51 on the Billboard 200 chart.
2009–14: Shake It Up and Zendaya
Zendaya began her professional career working as a fashion model for Macy’s, Mervyns and Old Navy. She was featured in an iCarly toys ad. She also appeared as a back-up dancer in a Sears commercial, featuring Disney‘s Actress Selena Gomez. In 2009, she was a featured performer in the Kidz Bop music video for its cover of the song “Hot n Cold”, which was released on Kidz Bop 15. She auditioned in November 2009 for the role of CeCe Jones to join the cast of Dance Dance Chicago, later changed to Shake It Up!, but was selected as Rocky Blue instead. For her audition, she performed Michael Jackson’s “Leave Me Alone”. Shake It Up premiered on November 7, 2010, and it was watched by 6.2 million viewers, becoming Disney Channel’s second highest-rated premiere in Disney Channel’s 27-year history. In 2011 Zendaya released “Swag It Out”, a promotional independent single. The song was composed by Bobby Brackins and produced by Glenn A. Foster. She also starred in the book trailer for “From Bad To Cursed” by Katie Alender. In the same year, she released “Watch Me,” featuring Bella Thorne, on June 21. The song peaked at 86 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second season of Shake It Up was announced on March 16, 2011, and premiered on September 18, 2011. On June 5, 2011, Shake It Up had a crossover episode with Good Luck Charlie. Zendaya hosted Make Your Mark: Ultimate Dance Off 2011.
Her first movie role was in the 2012 film Frenemies, a Disney Channel Original Movie. On February 29, 2012, “Something to Dance For” was released as promotional single for Live 2 Dance. For the soundtrack, Zendaya also recorded three other songs: “Made In Japan,” “Same Heart”, and “Fashion In Krytonite”, released as promotional single. On September 2, 2012, she signed to Hollywood Records. In October, Zendaya performed at the Teen Music Festival and at the Operation Smile benefit. In February 2013, Zendaya was announced as one of the celebrities who will compete on season 16 of Dancing with the Stars. At age 16, she was the youngest contestant ever to participate on the show, before Willow Shields succeeded her at age 14 on season 20. She was partnered up with professional dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy. In May, the couple finished as runners-up behind Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough. Her self-titled debut album was released on September 17, 2013. It was preceded by the hit single “Replay”, released on July 16, 2013. The song was written by Tiffany Fred and Paul “Phamous” Shelton. In June 2013, Coleman wrapped up filming for the music video. On July 25, the Disney Channel confirmed that Shake It Up will be canceled after the end of the third season.
In November 2013, Zendaya was picked as Elvis Duran’s Artist of the Month and was featured on NBC’s Today, where she performed live her single “Replay”.
In 2014, Zendaya was cast as 16-year-old Zoey Stevens, the lead character in the Disney Channel Original Movie Zapped, whose “smart phone begins to somehow control all the boys around her”. In late 2013, Zendaya was cast as the lead in a new Disney Channel pilot called Super Awesome Katy. It was ordered to series by Disney Channel in May 2014, with the series now under the title K.C. Undercover, and with Zendaya’s character now named K.C. Cooper rather than Katy Cooper. In 2017, Zendaya stated that she had a large influence over the renaming of her character and the retitling of the series, also deciding several key elements of the character’s personality. K.C. Undercover premiered on Disney Channel on January 18, 2015, and was renewed for a second season in May 2015.
In 2014, Zendaya finalized a joint venture between Hollywood and Republic Records. On March 6, 2015 Timbaland confirmed that he is working with Zendaya on her second album. “Something New”, featuring Chris Brown was released on February 5 via Hollywood Records and Republic Records. The song also marks it as her first official release since signing to Republic Records.
In February 2015, a joke made by Giuliana Rancic concerning Zendaya, in reference to her hair smelling of “patchouli oil” and “weed” at the 87th Academy Awards. Zendaya promptly took to Instagram to address the remark and point out that many successful people have “locs,” a hairstyle that has nothing to do with drugs. Due to her wise words Mattel honored Zendaya with her own Barbie, replicating her Oscars look.
2016–present: Focus on feature film acting
In 2016, Zendaya landed her first feature film role Spider-Man: Homecoming, which was released in July 2017. She plays a high school student named Michelle in the film. It grossed US$117 million in its first weekend, ranking number one at the box office. in December 2017, Zendaya co-starred in the musical film The Greatest Showman, alongside Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, and Rebecca Ferguson. She portrayed a trapeze artist named Anne Wheeler, who falls in love with Efron’s character, Phillip Carlyle, during a time when interracial romance was taboo. Her chemistry with Efron was well received by critic Owen Gleiberman who wrote in Variety that, “Efron and Zendaya have a terrific chemistry — they never stop seeking each other out.”
Besides two upcoming voice roles in Duck Duck Goose and Smallfoot, Zendaya has also signed on to star in and produce A White Lie, as Anita Hemmings, a light-skinned, African-American woman who was the descendant of slaves and passed as white so she could attend Vassar during the 1890s. Zendaya will also appear alongside Ansel Elgort and Jake Gyllenhaal in crime thriller Finest Kind.