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From Disney Star to Academy Awards: A Look into Zendaya’s Career on Screen

Since her debut on Disney channel in the show Shake It Up, Zendaya has been an absolute heartthrob; all of the guys want to date her, and all of the girls want to be her. Not only is the 25 year old an amazing actress but also an incredible dancer, singer, model, and the face of Covergirl. It’s no wonder her fan base has grown to 126 million plus followers online when she has the captivating talent that she does.

Zendaya’s career has gone from Disney star to Hollywood icon in a matter of only 10 years. Her acting prowess on many classics that we all enjoy is what led her to an Emmy award for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series”, one of the best accolades that a woman in her field could receive. Here are some of her most notable appearances on screen that helped her reach that ultimate achievement:

Shake It Up: When she was only 14 years old, Zendaya danced her way into the lead role of Rocky Blue in the hit Disney Channel show, Shake it Up. The Disney classic features Zendaya and her co-star Bella Thorne on a local TV show as back up dancers. Zendaya’s role on the show was a debut to her many years she would spend on Disney Channel. It propelled her into the crazy world of acting that we all know and love her for today.

K.C Undercover: In 2015, Zendaya began her role as a producer on the hit show, K.C Undercover, where she also starred as the lead role. The show was a way for her to return to Disney as more than just an actress, but as an executive and behind the scenes presence. The show would soon become one of her last appearances on the Disney screen, but the experience she gained from producing the show carries into her role on Euphoria today.

The Greatest Showman: Joining a star-studded cast of Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron, Zendaya stunned the movie industry on screen as character Anne Wheeler. This film full of singing, dancing and crazy stunts showcased Zendaya as an all-around type of movie star. From this film, you could tell her talents as an actress was only a small part of who she was. Her singing and dancing in the movie blew audiences away and added one more notch in her belt as a soon to be prominent movie star.

Spiderman: In 2017 Zendaya joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as MJ in Spiderman: Homecoming. It was her first feature-film role and she has gone on to act in the following Spiderman movies alongside co-star Tom Holland. Spiderman: No Way Home just recently hit theaters and it continues to break box office records even months after its release. Zendaya has a lovely on-screen presence throughout the three movies as you can really see her personality shine through each film.

Euphoria: Euphoria is an American teen drama television series where Zendaya stars as the main character and narrator of the show, Rue. The show is known for its graphic and intense scenes highlighting the most extreme sides of drugs and exploitation in a high school town. Zendaya stars alongside an ensemble of talented actors such as Maude Apatow, Jacob Elordi, Eric Dane, and Sydney Sweeney to name a few. The shows cinematography, score, and story has gained a lot of praise since its release in 2019, and that has a lot to do with Zendaya’s presence on the show as not only an actress, but also an executive producer.

Isabella Cautero

St. John's '25

Hi! My name is Isabella Cautero and I'm studying journalism at St.John's University in Queens. I love pop-culture, sports, music, movies and so much more. I enjoy playing with my dog in my free time and spending time with my family and loved ones! I'm from Jersey, so my favorite thing to do is go down the shore to my beach house in Cape May!
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