Actress. Singer. Dancer. Author. Model. TV producer.
Zendaya, who performs in concert at Six Flags Over Texas on Friday, is successfully doing all of these things. And she’s still only 17 years old.
“I want to be living proof for kids my age and younger that you can do whatever you want, that anything is possible,” the Disney Channel favorite and platinum-selling recording artist says. “I don’t think there’s an age limit on dreams.
“As long as you have the passion and drive, and if you’re doing it for the right reasons and you really love it, there aren’t any boundaries.”
Well, no boundaries for anyone with Zendaya’s wealth of talent.
TV audiences know her best either from Disney Channel’s dance-driven sitcom, Shake It Up! (2010-2013), or from the Spring 2013 season of Dancing With the Stars, in which she was the runner-up.
She wrote an advice book for tweens called Between U and Me in 2013.
Her self-titled debut album yielded a hit single, Replay, that went platinum in January, with more than 1 million copies sold.
In June, she was named the new face of Material Girl, the clothing line by Lourdes Leon and another one-name entertainer, Madonna.
Next up, in 2015, is another Disney Channel comedy called K.C. Undercover, in which she’ll star as a high school student training to be an undercover spy. She’s also one of the show’s producers.
But at 7 p.m. Friday her focus will be her music when she takes the stage at the Music Mill Amphitheatre at Six Flags Over Texas.
Here’s what her fans can expect. “I do every song on the album,” Zendaya says. “It’s really important, even if they haven’t heard the album before, for me to kind of give the full scope of what I do and my sound. It’s really upbeat. There’s a lot of dancing and a lot of fun.
“We break it down and do a little sing-along type thing in the middle of the show. But it’s mostly just really fun and I want people to enjoy and dance and have fun with me.”
The first two cuts from the album ( Replay, which she co-wrote, and Fireflies) are her favorites, but every song is special to her. There were no “space fillers” on that album, she insists. “It’s important to me to make music that I’m proud of and that I would listen to,” she says.
Zendaya says she has known since she was a child growing up in Oakland, Calif., that show business would be the life for her.
The biggest challenge she faced along the way was overcoming her paralyzing shyness. “I had a big problem with being afraid of crowds,” she says. “It took me a long time to kind of face it. I knew I would be doing this, but I had to figure out how to actually do it without being afraid all of the time.”
Once she beat that problem, there’s been no stopping her.
Zendaya (which means “to give thanks” in Shona, a Bantu language spoken by the people of Zimbabwe) says she’s not going to let success go to her head.
“I’m able to stay grounded because I have a really great support system,” she says. “There are people around me who, at any given time, will tell me the truth. They’ll even tell me no if that’s what I need to hear.
“A lot of people who get a brush with fame don’t have that in their lives and that’s when they lose their way sometimes.”
Zendaya’s fans are very important to her. She has more than 5 million followers on Facebook, more than 4.5 million on Twitter and more than 3.5 million on Instagram.
“I feel like I have a strong relationship with my fans,” she says. “I feel like they are really connected with me. I like to keep close with them and in touch with them.
“Sometimes I surprise people when I recognize them from Twitter or whatever and I’ll talk to them like we’re old friends, because that’s the way I feel about them.
“I want my fans to know who I really am and to know me as a real person. I think that’s important.”