Zendaya opens up about the weight of being her family's breadwinner as a child

10 April 2024, 15:20

Zendaya and Tom Holland enjoy Usher concert

Sam  Prance

By Sam Prance

Zendaya started working as a child actor in commercials when she was just 12 years old.

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Zendaya has opened up about her career as a child star and how she now wishes in hindsight that she had gone to school.

Zendaya may be most famous now for her work in Euphoria, Dune and the Spider-Man movies but she initially rose to fame as a child actor. From commercials to Kidz Bop, Zendaya did it all and she first started working at the age of 12. Zendaya then became one of the biggest stars of her generation after starring in Shake It Up and K.C. Undercover on the Disney Channel.

Now, Zendaya has revealed how she feels as an adult about working and supporting her family from such a young age.

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Zendaya opens up about the weight of being her family's breadwinner as a child
Zendaya opens up about the weight of being her family's breadwinner as a child. Picture: Marc Piasecki/WireImage, Craig Sjodin/Disney Channel via Getty Images

Talking to Vogue, Zendaya said: "I don’t know how much of a choice I had. I have complicated feelings about kids and fame and being in the public eye, or being a child actor. We’ve seen a lot of cases of it being detrimental. I think only now, as an adult, am I starting to go, Oh, okay, wait a minute: I’ve only ever done what I’ve known, and this is all I’ve known."

Zendaya then revealed that she feels like she's properly coming of age now. She said: "I’m almost going through my angsty teenager phase now, because I didn’t really have the time to do it before. I felt like I was thrust into a very adult position: I was becoming the breadwinner of my family very early, and there was a lot of role-​reversal happening."

Zendaya added that having to become "grown" so young was hard and she felt like she had to be "this perfect being, and be everything that everyone needs [her] to be, and live up to all these expectations."

Zendaya and Ross Butler in K.C. Undercover
Zendaya and Ross Butler in K.C. Undercover. Picture: Gilles Mingasson / Disney Channel via Getty Images

Zendaya admitted that working so young means she struggles to take joy in her achievements today. She said: "Now, when I have these moments in my caree, like, my first time leading a film that’s actually going to be in a theatre, I feel like I shrink, and I can’t enjoy all the things that are happening to me."

She ended by saying: "I’m very tense, and I think that I carry that from being a kid and never really having an opportunity to just try shit. And I wish I went to school."

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