how zendaya is trying to make hollywood less racist
The actress has said she makes sure her manager puts her forward anytime casting directors are looking for white actresses.
Zendaya cut her teeth as a Disney star on the sitcom Shake It Up, and has since gone on to make a mononymous name for herself in Hollywood. At the tender age of 21, she's starred in blockbusters like Spider Man and The Greatest Showman, and cameoed in Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade (if there's a bigger accolade than that, we're not sure of it).
She's also become one of the industry's most vocal critics of systemic racism in Hollywood. Speaking with trans activist Janet Mock for the latest issue of Marie Claire this week, she shared one of the ways in which she attempts to challenge this bias in the film industry from the inside. “I always tell my theatrical manager, ‘Anytime it says they’re looking for white girls, send me out. Let me get in the room. Maybe they’ll change their minds,’” adding, “Hopefully, they’ll -- as they call it in the industry -- go ethnic.”
While it’s great to hear of Zendaya doing this, the onus shouldn’t be on her to anti-whitewash the industry. “I remember making the decision to straighten my hair,” Zendaya said in the same interview about her Spider Man audition. “I didn’t know that they were going to be more diverse in their casting. I didn’t know that I was walking into a situation where they were already breaking the rules. You get so used to having to break the rules for people.”
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.