Zendaya has quickly risen to become one of Hollywood’s most popular and influential young stars. At just 26 years old, she has already accomplished so much – from her breakout role on the Disney Channel to her history-making Emmy wins. Her talents include acting, singing, producing, fashion, and activism.
So how did this multi-hyphenate go from a child model and backup dancer to an A-list celebrity? Here’s a deep dive into Zendaya’s journey to superstardom.
Early Life and Career Beginnings
Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman was born in Oakland, California, on September 1, 1996. She was drawn to the spotlight and performance as a young child.
- At age 8, Zendaya joined a local theatre company and a hip-hop dance group where she could hone her skills.
- In elementary school, she was a fashion model for Macy’s, Mervyns and Old Navy. This helped kickstart her career in the entertainment industry.
- One of her first gigs was as a backup dancer in a Sears commercial starring Selena Gomez and future Shake It Up co-star Ross Lynch. Looking back, Zendaya says it’s “cool to start small.”
- She continued to land modeling jobs, commercials, and minor acting roles throughout her preteen years. At a young age, she laid the groundwork for her future fame by making connections and impressing people with her maturity and dedication.
Disney Channel Breakout with Shake It Up
In 2010, a significant opportunity arose for 14-year-old Zendaya when she was cast as Rocky Blue on the Disney Channel sitcom Shake It Up.
- Shake It Up is centered around two teenage best friends, Rocky and CeCe (Bella Thorne), who dreams of dancing on a local TV show.
- This was Zendaya’s big break into the mainstream as one of the two lead roles. Shake It Up became a hit for Disney and introduced Zendaya to millions of viewers.
- Several soundtrack albums featuring Zendaya were released capitalising on the show’s popularity. This helped launch her music career.
Zendaya spent three years on Shake It Up, end