Besides two upcoming voice roles in Duck Duck Goose and Smallfoot, Zendaya has signed on to star in and produce A White Lie, as Anita Hemmings, a light-skinned, African-American woman who was the descendant of slaves and passed as white so she could attend Vassar during the 1890s. She will also appear alongside Ansel Elgort and Jake Gyllenhaal in the crime thriller Finest Kind and will reprise her role of Michelle in the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel , set to be released in 2019.
Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman was born on September 1, 1996, in Oakland, California, and is the only child of Claire Marie (Stoermer) and Kazembe Ajamu (born Samuel David Coleman), but has five older half-siblings on her father's side. Her father is African-American with roots in Arkansas; her mother has German and Scottish ancestry. Zendaya has stated that her name means "to give thanks" in Shona, a Bantu language native to the Shona people of Zimbabwe. Zendaya grew as a performer in part at the nearby California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda where her mother works as the house manager in addition to training at the theater's student conservatory program. She appeared in numerous stage productions while she was attending Oakland School for the Arts, starring as Little Ti Moune in Once on This Island at the Berkeley Playhouse and the breakout role of the male character Joe in Caroline, or Change at Palo Alto's TheaterWorks.
Zendaya began her professional career working as a fashion model for Macy's, Mervyns and Old Navy. She was featured in an iCarly toys ad. She also appeared as a back-up Dancer in a Sears commercial, featuring Disney's Actress Selena Gomez. In 2009, she was a featured performer in the Kidz Bop music video for its cover of the song "Hot n Cold", which was released on Kidz Bop 15. She auditioned in November 2009 for the role of CeCe Jones to join the cast of Dance Dance Chicago, later changed to Shake It Up!, but was selected as Rocky Blue instead. For her audition, she performed Michael Jackson's "Leave Me Alone". Shake It Up premiered on November 7, 2010, and it was watched by 6.2 million viewers, becoming Disney Channel's second highest-rated premiere in Disney Channel’s 27-year history. In 2011 Zendaya released "Swag It Out", a promotional independent single. The song was composed by Bobby Brackins and produced by Glenn A. Foster. She also starred in the book trailer for "From Bad To Cursed" by Katie Alender. In the same year, she released "Watch Me," featuring Bella Thorne, on June 21. The song peaked at 86 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second season of Shake It Up was announced on March 16, 2011, and premiered on September 18, 2011. On June 5, 2011, Shake It Up had a crossover episode with Good Luck Charlie. Zendaya hosted Make Your Mark: Ultimate Dance Off 2011.
Zendaya began her career in music by recording songs independently and releasing the singles "Swag It Out" and "Watch Me" in 2011, the latter a collaboration with Bella Thorne. She signed with Hollywood Records in 2012 and later released her debut single, "Replay", which reached number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. Zendaya's self-titled debut studio album (2013) debuted at number 51 on the Billboard 200 chart.
In September 2012, Zendaya was featured along with Rapper Lil Wayne and NBA player LeBron James in a performance of "Scream and Shout" by Will.I.Am and Britney Spears for a television commercial for Beats by Dr. Dre Color. Zendaya is the face of "X-Out", Madonna's clothing line "Material Girl", CoverGirl, and Chi Hair Care.
In 2013 Zendaya started work on a clothing line, inspired on her clothes on Shake It Up, the Shake It Up Dance Clothing Line by Zendaya. The collection features fun clothes for active girls, legwarmers, shorts, jackets, headbands and athletic apparel and accessories. Summer 2015 with Carmex, Zendaya announced that she would be launching her own clothing line called Daya by Zendaya, which was launch in Fall of 2016. Her Shoe Collection Sole of Daya soon followed
In 2014, Zendaya was a guest judge on an episode of Project Runway: Under the Gunn. In this episode, the designers (contestants) were given the challenge of creating an outfit for Zendaya to wear in an upcoming concert performance. In 2016, she was a guest judge on the season finale of Project Runway season 15.
In February 2015, a joke made by Giuliana Rancic concerning Zendaya, in reference to her hair smelling of "patchouli oil" and "weed" at the 87th Academy Awards. Zendaya promptly took to Instagram to address the remark and point out that many successful people have “locs,” a hairstyle that has nothing to do with drugs. Due to her wise words Mattel honored Zendaya with her own Barbie, replicating her Oscars look.
In 2016, Zendaya made her feature film debut as Michelle "MJ" Jones in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which was released in July 2017. The film grossed $117 million in its first weekend, ranking number one at the box office. John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter praised her as a "scene stealer" and David Ehrlich of IndieWire called her the film's "MVP", despite her brief on-screen time. Later in December 2017, Zendaya co-starred in the musical film The Greatest Showman, alongside Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, and Rebecca Ferguson. She portrayed a trapeze Artist named Anne Wheeler who falls in love with Efron's character, Phillip Carlyle, during a time when interracial romance was taboo. Although the film received mixed reviews from critics, it was a commercial success and Zendaya's performance, as well as chemistry with Efron, was particularly praised. Critic Owen Gleiberman wrote in Variety that, "Efron and Zendaya have a terrific chemistry — they never stop seeking each other out."
Zendaya is an Ambassador for Convoy of Hope. Zendaya recorded John Legend's All of Me with a portion of the proceeds going to Convoy of Hope. She also celebrated her 18th birthday with a campaign to help feed at least 150 hungry children in Haiti, Tanzania and the Philippines through feedONE. Zendaya celebrated her 20th birthday with a campaign to raise $50,000 to support Convoy's Women's Empowerment Initiative.