Zendaya: A Superstar Is Born | Elle Canada (2024)

“I’m just a person. I wear clothes that I like, and I have fun. But I also take it as a responsibility because I know that so many people relate to those things on a deeper level. I don’t want to feel untouchable. I’m just growing up and figuring it out as I go along.”

What does happiness mean to you?

“So much. I think with the past few years we’ve had, it’s important to prioritize happiness and the things that bring you joy and not feel bad for feeling joyful. Even small moments count. When I was in quarantine, the happiest thing for me was when Beyoncé and Megan Thee Stallion came out with ‘Savage Remix.’ That, to me, was so joyful. I was like, ‘I don’t care. I’m playing this all day, every day.’ In the shower, finishing a puzzle—this song got me through.”

How do you turn a bad day around?

“I hang out with my dog—he’s like my kid. One day, I’ll have kids and he’ll be jealous. But until then, he’s my furry child. I just want to protect him. There’s something about the unconditional love of a dog. They’re so happy to see you. They will always show up for you and always be excited to see you. You can be gone for five minutes and when you come back, they’re like, ‘Yo. You’re here!’”

Where’s your happy place?

“When I get in my zone, I feel the happiest. It could be when I’m at work and I’m proud of the work that I’m doing or it could be when I’m cleaning my house and everything is so organized.”

What’s the most important message your parents instilled in you?

“The importance of having confidence and a strong sense of self. My parents always let me choose what I was going to wear when I was little. They didn’t pick out my outfits, even when I was three or four. An outfit might have been a jersey, plastic heels, a headband and basketball shorts. It made me happy. That had a huge impact on me and my ability to feel like I can wear whatever I want and dress for myself. My parents also taught me to never stand by when someone needs you. Once, I got in trouble at school: Someone got bullied, and I saw it happen. My parents showed up and pulled me out of class. I was like, ‘Why am I getting in trouble? I didn’t do it.’ And they were like, ‘Exactly. That’s the problem. You didn’t do anything.’ That became a lifelong [belief in] always standing up for what’s right.”

What advice would you give to young women about staying grounded while maintaining their self-confidence?

“I think this is more important now than ever. You can’t compare yourself to anyone because you’re not like anyone else. You’re always going to win the ‘you’ game. No one will ever be as good at being you as you are. So embrace that and find the things that make you happy and bring you joy and make you feel fulfilled. It’s one thing to be inspired by someone, but comparison—that’s a slippery slope.”

Mental health is a big issue these days. How do you help preserve your own mental health?

“My favourite thing to do—the thing that has helped me the most—is make a list of things I’m grateful for every night before I go to bed. Sometimes I write it down, and sometimes I just say it out loud. But simply saying ‘I’m thankful for these things’ really helps put life in perspective. And if there’s something I’m struggling with or trying to figure out, I’ll put a question out to the universe. I find that putting it out there, saying that I’m looking for a solution—and giving thanks for the answer that’s coming—keeps me in a good, positive space.”

What social issues are close to your heart?

“I’m the daughter of two educators, so education is massively important to me. I’ve seen how it can change someone’s life and how the quality of education you receive gets better if you have the means, and [I see] the disparity in that. I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to an education. Knowledge is power and a gift no one can take back. Once you have it, it’s yours. Sustainability is very important to me too. I’m still learning about how I can be better at it and what my piece of the puzzle is. Because everyone has to do better and be smarter about how we create and do things so we have a future for our babies, for my little nieces and nephews.”

Who has most influenced your idea of beauty?

“My mom was not into quintessentially glamorous things. She was a teacher and focused most of her energy on being a teacher, but to me, she was still extremely beautiful. I wanted to be like her. On the other hand, I had people like my grandmother, who was always glamorous and liked getting dressed up and wearing heels. I think having both sides showed me that there’s really no one definition of what it means to be beautiful. I learned to embrace all of it.”

What is your first memory of Lancôme products?

“[Being with] my grandma. She’d let me go in her bathroom and play with her makeup and do makeup on other people, like her or my cousins or whoever was around. I specifically remember a blue or blue-grey eyeliner. I just loved playing with it.”

Which products do you recommend to your friends?

“I always recommend Lancôme for its staple eye products, like its Le Crayon Khôl eyeliner, its eyeshadows and the Lash Idôle and Le 8 Hypnôse mascaras. Lancôme has the best mascaras. And lipsticks. I have so many Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge lipsticks, it’s actually ridiculous—and funny because I don’t usually wear anything other than red or nude. I wish I was a bit more experimental with lip colours. Also, I’m blown away by the new Teint Idôle concealer, which is lightweight but blends very well.”

What’s the best tip you’ve ever learned from a professional makeup artist?

“When I was a kid, I learned how to do my own makeup pretty quickly because I often felt that other people didn’t do it right. One thing I learned is how to build with cream foundations and brush and buff them into the skin—and to not be afraid to play around. Oh, and to do my face after I do my eyes. I don’t understand when people do their eyes after their face. You start with your eyes! That way, any fallout doesn’t matter.”

You’ve said that you have sensitive skin—how do you take care of it?

“I’ve figured out things that work for me, and I stick with them. That was hard for me when I was younger. I’d be impatient and want something to work, like, tomorrow. Eventually, I learned that results happen over time. As for core products, I love the Génifique serum. It’s nice and light but very hydrating, and I especially love it when I travel. Keeping your skin hydrated is so important.”

Do you have a signature fragrance?

“This is really cool: One of my first missions as a Lancôme ambassador was to be the face of a new fragrance that [the brand was] launching. There was a bottle, but the fragrance hadn’t been selected yet. They gave me three different options, and I got to pick what is now Idôle. So I feel a kinship to it. To me, fragrances are very emotional, attached to memories and meaning. My sister used a particular body spray, and anytime I walk by someone wearing it, I’m immediately reminded of being little. I attach to Idôle the memory of first becoming an ambassador, which is a really happy memory for me. That’s why I love it.”

What’s your greatest hope for the future?

“That people become a little bit more empathetic. It would drive us to do more things for each other.”

What’s the mantra you live by?

“Be a nice person.”

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Zendaya: A Superstar Is Born | Elle Canada (2024)

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