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Zendaya promoting Smallfoot for MTV international.png
Zendaya in 2018
Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman[1]

(1996-09-01) September 1, 1996 (age 22)
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active2009–present
Musical career

Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman (/zɛnˈd.ə/; born September 1, 1996)[3] 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. From 2015 to 2018, she produced and starred as K.C. Cooper on the Disney Channel sitcom K.C. Undercover. 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.

Early life

Coleman was born on September 1, 1996, in Oakland, California, the only child of Claire Marie (Stoermer) and Kazembe Ajamu (born Samuel David Coleman). She has five older half-siblings on her father's side.[4] Her father is African-American, with roots in Arkansas, while her mother has German and Scottish ancestry.[1][4] Zendaya, whose name derives from an African term meaning "to give thanks,"[5] grew as a performer in part at the nearby California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda, California where her mother works as the house manager, in addition to training at the theater's student conservatory program.[6] She appeared in numerous stage productions while she was attending Oakland School for the Arts, starring as Little Ti Moune in Once on This Island at the Berkeley Playhouse and the breakout role of the male character Joe in Caroline, or Change at Palo Alto's TheaterWorks.[7]

Zendaya spent three years dancing in a dance group called Future Shock Oakland. The group did hip-hop and hula dances when she was eight.[8][9][10]

She studied at the CalShakes Conservatory Program and at the American Conservatory Theater.[11] Her other stage credits include William Shakespeare's Richard III, Twelfth Night, and As You Like It.[12]


2009–14: Shake It Up and Zendaya

Zendaya at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con promoting Spider-Man Homecoming

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.[13] She also appeared as a back-up dancer in a Sears commercial, featuring Disney 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.[13][14] 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.[15] For her audition, she performed Michael Jackson's "Leave Me Alone".[16] 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.[17] In 2011 Zendaya released "Swag It Out", a promotional independent single. The song was composed by Bobby Brackins and produced by Glenn A. Foster.[18] She also starred in the book trailer for "From Bad To Cursed" by Katie Alender.[19] 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.

Zendaya in 2017.

Her first movie role was in the 2012 film Frenemies, a Disney Channel Original Movie.[13][16][20] 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.[21] In October, Zendaya performed at the Teen Music Festival and at the Operation Smile benefit.[22] In February 2013, Zendaya was announced as one of the celebrities who will compete on season 16 of Dancing with the Stars.[23] 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.[24][25][26] 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.[27][28]

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".[29] In late 2013, Zendaya was cast as the lead in a new Disney Channel pilot called Super Awesome Katy.[30] 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.[31] 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.[32] K.C. Undercover premiered on Disney Channel on January 18, 2015,[33] and was renewed for a second season in May 2015.[34]

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.[35][36] "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.[37]

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.[38] 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. Mattel honored Zendaya with her own Barbie, replicating her Oscars look.[39]

2016–present: Focus on feature film acting

In 2016, Zendaya made her feature film debut as Michelle "MJ" Jones in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which was released in July 2017.[40] The film grossed $117 million in its first weekend, ranking number one at the box office.[41] John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter praised her as a "scene stealer" and David Ehrlich of IndieWire called her the film's "MVP", despite her brief on-screen time. In August 2017, Zendaya appeared in the music video for Versace on the Floor by Bruno Mars.[42]

Later 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. Although the film received mixed reviews from critics, it was a commercial success and Zendaya's performance, as well as chemistry with Efron, was particularly praised. Critic Owen Gleiberman wrote in Variety that, "Efron and Zendaya have a terrific chemistry — they never stop seeking each other out." [43]

Zendaya has a voice role in the 2018 film Smallfoot as the yeti Meechee.

Upcoming work

Zendaya has 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.[44] She will also appear alongside Ansel Elgort and Jake Gyllenhaal in the crime thriller Finest Kind and will reprise her role of Michelle in Spider-Man: Far From Home, set to be released in 2019.[45][46] In June 2018, it was announced that Zendaya is attached to star in the upcoming HBO drama series Euphoria, an adaptation of the Israeli series of the same name. She will play Rue, a lying, drug-addicted 17-year-old girl and the series' narrator.[47]

Other ventures


In September 2012, Zendaya was featured along with rapper Lil Wayne and NBA player LeBron James in a performance of "Scream and Shout" by Will.I.Am and Britney Spears for a television commercial for Beats by Dr. Dre Color.[48] Zendaya is the face of "X-Out",[49] Madonna's clothing line "Material Girl",[50] CoverGirl,[51] and Chi Hair Care.[52]

Zendaya is an ambassador for Convoy of Hope.[53] Zendaya recorded John Legend's "All of Me" with a portion of the proceeds going to the organization.[54] She also celebrated her 18th birthday with a campaign to help feed at least 150 hungry children in Haiti, Tanzania and the Philippines through feedONE.[55] Zendaya celebrated her 20th birthday with a campaign to raise $50,000 to support Convoy's Women's Empowerment Initiative.[53]


In August 6, 2013, Zendaya released her debut book, Between U and Me: How to Rock Your Tween Years with Style and Confidence.[56][57]


In 2013 Zendaya started work on a clothing line, inspired on her clothes on Shake It Up, the Shake It Up Dance Clothing Line by Zendaya. The collection features fun clothes for active girls, legwarmers, shorts, jackets, headbands and athletic apparel and accessories.[58][59] Summer 2015 with Carmex, Zendaya announced that she would be launching her own clothing line called Daya by Zendaya, which was launch in Fall of 2016.[60][61] Her Shoe Collection Sole of Daya soon followed[62]

In 2014, Zendaya was a guest judge on an episode of Project Runway: Under the Gunn. In this episode, the designers (contestants) were given the challenge of creating an outfit for Zendaya to wear in an upcoming concert performance.[63][64] In 2016, she was a guest judge on the season finale of Project Runway season 15.[65]

In October 2018, Tommy Hilfiger signed Zendaya to be the brand’s new global women’s ambassador. Besides appearing in the mainline campaigns, she will also design a Tommy x Zendaya capsule collection.[66]

Personal life

Her interests include singing, dancing, and designing clothes.[13] She is also a vegetarian.[67] Zendaya currently lives in Los Angeles, California and owns a house there worth $1.4 million.[68]


Film roles
Year Title Role Notes
2013 Super Buddies Lollipop (voice) Direct-to-DVD
2017 Spider-Man: Homecoming Michelle "MJ" Jones
The Greatest Showman Anne Wheeler
2018 Duck Duck Goose Chi (voice)
Smallfoot Meechee (voice)
2019 Spider-Man: Far From Home Michelle "MJ" Jones Post-production
Television roles
Year Title Role Notes
2010–2013 Shake It Up Rocky Blue Lead role (75 episodes)
2011 Good Luck Charlie Rocky Blue Episode: "Charlie Shakes It Up"
2011 PrankStars Herself Episode: "Walk the Prank"
2011 Pixie Hollow Games Fern (voice) Television special
2012 A.N.T. Farm Sequoia Jones Episode: "Creative consultANT"
2012 Frenemies Halley Brandon Television film
2013 Dancing with the Stars Contestant Season 16 Runner Up
2014 Zapped Zoey Stevens Television film
2015–2018 K.C. Undercover K.C. Cooper Main; also co-producer[69]
2015 Black-ish Rasheida Episode: "Daddy's Day"[70]
2017 Walk the Prank Herself Episode: "K.C. Undercover Edition"[71]
2019 Euphoria Rue Lead role[72][73]


Concert tours

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2011 Young Artist Award Outstanding Young Ensemble in a TV Series
(shared with Bella Thorne, Davis Cleveland, Roshon Fegan, Adam Irigoyen, Kenton Duty and Caroline Sunshine)
Shake It Up Nominated [74]
2012 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series – Leading Young Actress Nominated [75]
Young Artist Award Outstanding Young Ensemble in a TV Series
(shared with Bella Thorne, Davis Cleveland, Roshon Fegan, Adam Irigoyen, Kenton Duty and Caroline Sunshine)
Nominated [75]
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children's Series or Special Nominated [76]
2013 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a TV Movie, MiniSeries, Special or Pilot - Leading Young Actress Frenemies Nominated [77]
Radio Disney Music Awards Best Music Video "Fashion Is My Kryptonite" Nominated
2014 Radio Disney Music Awards Breakout Artist Herself Nominated [78]
Best Style Won [78]
BET Awards YoungStars Award Nominated [79]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Music: Breakout Artist Nominated [80]
Teen Choice Awards Candie's Style Icon Won [80]
2015 Radio Disney Music Awards Best Style Nominated [81]
BET Awards YoungStars Award Nominated [82]
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Comedy K.C. Undercover Nominated
2016 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Female TV Star – Kids' Show Won [83]
Radio Disney Music Awards Best Style Herself Nominated [84]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Music: R&B/Hip-Hop Song Something New Nominated [85]
Choice Style: Female Herself Won [85]
2017 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Female TV Star K.C. Undercover Won [86]
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Comedy Nominated [87]
Choice Summer Movie Actress Spider-Man: Homecoming Won [88]
Choice Breakout Movie Star Nominated [88]
Choice Twit Herself Nominated [88]
Choice Style Icon Nominated [88]
Choice Female Hottie Nominated [88]
2018 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Female TV Star K.C. Undercover Nominated [89]
Favorite Movie Actress Spider-Man: Homecoming and The Greatest Showman Won [89]
Saturn Awards Best Performance by a Younger Actor Spider-Man: Homecoming Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie Actress: Drama The Greatest Showman Won [90]
Choice Movie Ship
(shared with Zac Efron)
Won [91]
Choice Liplock
(shared with Zac Efron)
Nominated [92]
Choice Collaboration
(shared with Zac Efron)
"Rewrite the Stars" Won [93]
Choice Style Icon Herself Nominated [94]


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External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Shawn Johnson & Derek Hough
Dancing with the Stars (US) runner up
Season 16
(Spring 2013 with Valentin Chmerkovskiy)
Succeeded by
Corbin Bleu & Karina Smirnoff