The Black proverb that you have to work twice as hard to be just as good also applies in Hollywood. In fact, Zendaya recently opened up about the burdensome need to be “perfect” in order to succeed in her career.
“The one thing I struggle with is I sometimes get so afraid to make a mistake,” she said in the September issue of Marie Claire. “Like, I want to be perfect, I want to make all the right decisions, and when I don’t, it stresses me out.”
Transgender activist Janet Mock, who sat down with the actress, agreed that she wishes “Black girls could be able to navigate these public spaces and make mistakes and be given chances.”
The Disney star said she’s aware of the unsaid biases against Black actresses like her, compared to her White counterparts.
“And I knew that from when I was real young,” she said to Mock. “That’s just the truth, and so you’ll be kind of afraid of making mistakes because I love what I do. I don’t want to jeopardize it at any point because I am not allowed the room to mess up.”
Despite her fears, it doesn’t stop Zendaya for going after roles that aren’t necessarily written for a Black actress. And to take it one step further, she actually tells her team to not let scripts or agents define which auditions she goes out for.
“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,'” she recalled, noting that Spider-Man: Homecoming wasn’t originally written for an actress of color.
Here’s to getting more roles that break down barriers!