On International Women’s Day, Zendaya gave a shout-out to the women who inspire her the most. The 20-year-old attended Verizon’s “We Need More” event to inspire kids to go into STEM, and told InStyle the wisdom she hopes to pass on to little girls.
“I would say to any girl, this is because this is how I was raised. I call it the Queen Complex, but it’s really just thinking […] thinking highly of yourself. It doesn’t mean that you’re stuck-up. It doesn’t mean that you’re cocky, or arrogant, or whatever,” she said.
“You should be deeply, madly, and truly in love with yourself, and that’s fine. You can look in the mirror and be like, dang girl, you look good. You know what I mean? It’s okay to love yourself. And that goes for everyone, but I think specifically women, because women are very often more judged, or put under a microscope, or told what to do, or told how to live. It happens very often with young girls.”
“That, and also uplift other girls. There’s nothing wrong with complimenting another girl, or supporting another girl. It’s not going to make you look bad. It’s not going to make your life less. It actually is going to make you feel good, so try it out.”
The Disney channel star then took the opportunity to complement a few girls herself. When asked who inspired her the most, she singled out two powerful, black women. “I would say—other than obviously my mom and sister—always Oprah, because Oprah’s the bomb. I think she’s a definition of a business mogul, but also on top of that, finds a way to always have a very grounded element, a very soulful element, a very philanthropic element to everything she does, which is always really cool,” she gushed, before turning the conversation to our former First Lady.
“Then Michelle Obama, because she’s Michelle Obama. She’s smart, educated, classy, elegant, handles herself. One of the toughest jobs is being in the public eye all the time, and not being able to have anything wrong with you. You have to be perfect, and she's literally perfect. And she’s done everything, but also kind of pushes it too, in her own way. Definitely pushes the boundaries, and pushes the envelope. Even like when it comes to clothes, what she wears,” Zendaya said.
“She’s one of the flyest First Women I’ve ever seen. Still my First Lady in my eyes. And I love that she took the role of First Lady, and kind of made it her own. She wasn’t just like the president’s wife. She’s Michelle Obama, you know what I mean?”
We definitely do. According to the actress, the common thread between these women is self-confidence. “I feel like all those women are very secure in who they are. They’re very proud of who they are, and with that, are able to uplift others. Because you can’t help somebody else if you’re not in a good space yourself.”
—with reporting by Brandi Fowler