Zendaya Turns 26! Take a Look Back at the Star's Incredible Career (So Far) (2024)

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Humble Beginnings

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The star told W Magazine that the first role she ever auditioned for was a school play: James and the Giant Peach.

"I tried out for the lead, but I ended up being cast as the silkworm. I didn't have any lines, but you know what? I killed it," she said. "I was a worm, but I was reacting and giving face, and I was the best dang silkworm there ever was."

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Kidz Boppin' Along

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Would you believe us if we told you that Zendaya was a Kidz Bop Kid in 2009? We thought you should know.

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Disney Days

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Zendaya got her big break when she was 14 years old, when she starred as Rocky Blue in the Disney Channel series Shake It Up, alongside Bella Thorne. The show ran from 2010 to 2013.

While making her mark as a Disney Channel star, Zendaya appeared in Disney Channel Original Movies like Zapped (2012) and Frenemies (2014).

From 2015 to 2018, the actress starred in another Disney Channel Original Series, K.C. Undercover, where she played a super-smart girl-turned-spy. Get this: She also produced the show! Talk about badass.

The 19-year-old told Cosmopolitan of her return to Disney Channel, "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. 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."

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Dancing Through Life

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In 2013, Zendaya put on her dancing shoes and competed in the 16th season of Dancing with the Stars. At just 16 years old, Zendaya was the youngest contestant to compete on the show until that point — a title now held by Willow Shields, who was just 14 when she competed.

Though a standout couple on the show, Zendaya and partner Val Chmerkovskiy unfortunately did not take home the Mirrorball Trophy.

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A Triple Threat

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The year 2013 wasn't all about dancing, Zendaya also released her self-titled debut album that year. You might remember her hit song, "Replay."

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Okay, Make That a Quadruple Threat

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As if acting, dancing and singing weren't enough, the star also authored a book! Between U and Me: How to Rock Your Tween Years with Style and Confidence is an advice book directed toward Zendaya's Disney Channel fans.

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She's a Doll

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No, really! A Barbie doll. After having to stand up for herself and defend her hairstyle at the 2015 Oscars, Mattel created a Barbie doll modeled after her red carpet look — including her locs.

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Easy, Breezy, Beautiful

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She's a CoverGirl! In 2016, the 19-year-old was named a face of the beauty brand.

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How Marvel-ous

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In 2017, Zendaya made her debut in the Marvel Universe when she joined the cast of Spider-Man: Homecoming as MJ. Since then, she has appeared in the 2019 sequel, Spider-Man: Far From Home and 2021's upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home.

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This Is The Greatest Show

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You can add "trapeze work" to a long list of Zendaya's qualifications. In 2017, she starred as trapeze artist Anne Wheeler alongside Zac Efron in the star-studded movie musical. And she did most of her own stunts! Can you believe?

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Totally Euphoric

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Beginning in 2019, Zendaya knocked everyone's socks off with her honest, open portrayal of Rue, a teenager who is battling a drug addiction, anxiety and depression. Her raw and powerful performance in Euphoria led to her first Emmy nomination.

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Into the Dune

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Recent months brought not only a second season of Euphoria, but film roles, too: the starlet joined Jason Momoa and Timothée Chalamet for Dune and off-screen love Tom Holland for Spider-Man: No Way Home.

The star told InStyle, "Dune was incredible ... It is a big deal to even be a small part of something with such a massive cast. And I love sci-fi stuff too. It's fun to escape into another world."

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Happy Couple

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Zendaya and Tom Holland were entangled in a web of romance rumors for years after being cast alongside each other in Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2016, but it wasn't until five years later that the couple confirmed their relationship.

In honor of Holland's 26th birthday on June 1, 2022, Zendaya shared a sweet photo of them on Instagram, writing, "Happiest of birthdays to the one who makes me the happiest <3."

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Consistently Best Dressed

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And through it all, she has proven herself to be a serious fashion icon.

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That's 'Emmy Award-Winning Superstar Zendaya' to You!

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In 2020, the 24-year-old became the youngest woman ever to take home the Emmy for outstanding actress in a drama series for her role as Rue in Euphoria. She is only the second Black actress to win in the category. The first was Viola Davis, so you know she's in good company!

Zendaya Turns 26! Take a Look Back at the Star's Incredible Career (So Far) (2024)
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