Zendaya sat down with InStyle for the Best Dressed issue and opened up about how her legendary style is “an extension” of her acting.
“I think about red carpets as having their own characters and narratives. We build a little story for all the looks,” Zendaya shared. “It’s like an extension of my acting career in a weird way—you just pop this wig on or whatever it is. Clothes sometimes are very emotional, so I get to embody these different facets—maybe they’re of myself, or maybe they’re alter egos. But I get to meet these different women through clothes.”
She said that the key, really, is confidence. “When I was 14 and at my first movie premiere, my outfit was a bunch of stuff that I had from Target. And I thought I was fly. I felt cool. To this day, I think that’s really all that matters. Then you know you’re doing the right thing.”
Not that the reception has always been glorious. Zendaya said, “I got dragged for my mullet at the time, but kids love mullets now. I’m happy about my David Bowie mullet.”
Of what makes her nervous, she said: “Messing up. Making mistakes. Not being the best I can possibly be at something. Failure. Again, that’s a Virgo thing. If something is not perfect or the best, then I feel like I might as well have not even done it. I turn something into being the worst thing, even if it was fine. But it’s not fine to me.”
On standing up for herself: “I think my parents [instilled] in me at a very young age [the ability] to stick up for myself. If you don’t like something, you say it. If something makes you uncomfortable, you tell somebody. I’ve always had a good handle on that.”
On being her own boss, Zendaya said: “I think my biggest flaw as a boss is that I am a procrastinator. I don’t like to answer email or questions; I just want to do the fun, cool stuff. I’m also very detail-oriented and won’t let anything go. Those two things don’t really go hand in hand, so I’m learning how to be better at that.”
On the meme of her sitting with Tom Holland, looking annoyed: “The paparazzi can be wherever they want. Even our holding area was a vitamin store with glass everywhere, so it wasn’t super private. I’m assuming someone was looking through the window, trying to scare us or something. So that was my face.”