That Time Zendaya Fired Her Publicist Over a Racist Remark

This Is What Zendaya Thinks About Diversity in Hollywood
The actress talks diversity and #OscarsSoWhite.
What Is Cultural Appropriation?
Let Zendaya explain it to you.

Zendaya has no time for your condescension.

The 19-year-old, who is a staunch supporter of black women in the business, recalls parting ways with someone from her inner working circle after they had made a racially insensitive comment in her presence. Speaking with Cosmopolitan, the actress reveals that she stopped working with one of her former publicists told her to keep her mouth shut about her concerns.

“I didn’t like my hair and makeup one time on a photo shoot, and my publicist told me, ‘You should just be happy with it — they haven’t had a black girl on the cover since forever.’ She’s no longer my publicist,” she says.

Zendaya adds that the reason she only returned to the Disney Channel because she felt there should be more representation on the network. As the star and co-producer of K.C. Undercover, Zendaya hopes she can bring a little more diversity to the industry.

CREDIT: James White/Cosmopolitan

“The only way I was going to come back to the Disney Channel was if I was in a position of more power. One thing that is really important to me is diversity on the channel,” she explains. “It’s hard as a young person of a different ethnicity or background to look at the TV and not see anyone who looks like you. Representation is very important.”

As for her love life? Zendaya, who once joked she was “auditioning” NFL player Odell Beckham Jr. for the role of her boyfriend, believes in doing what make you happy. Though she admits she’d rather be in a relationship, she doesn’t look down on those who prefer something a little more casual.

“Me, personally? I would much rather be in love and have the full experience with the person I’m doing that with,” she says. “Everyone deserves to be in love — it’s different from when you’re with someone you don’t really know. But as long as you protect yourself and get tested periodically, then by all means, go ahead and do what you’ve got to do!”