Zendaya's Mom Says She Took A Second Job To Make Ends Meet, But It Ended Up Being Fortuitous For Her Daughter’s Career

Zendaya in Challengers
(Image credit: MGM)

From Disney Channel to her big screen presence, Zendaya shines in her Hollywood acting career. Zendaya's best movies truly show off her range, whether she’s playing Spider-Man’s love interest, trapeze swinging in The Greatest Showman or giving her best performance yet in Challengers. We can all thank the actress' mom, Claire Stoermer, for taking on that second job that helped her daughter’s career success.

Stoermer initially worked as an elementary school teacher, where she taught Oscar Grant’s nieces in Fruitvale Elementary. But during her 2021 interview with Beyoncé’s mom, Stoermer took a second job to make ends meet at the California Shakespeare Theater Summer Conservatory, where Zendaya would tag along once she was about eight years old. As she recalled:

When I got that job at the theater, she was a baby. She was like two. And my goal was I want to make a little extra money so we can go to Disneyland. Because teachers [...] we were paycheck to paycheck. So, I took that second job and it stuck and I became the house manager and she started coming to work with me. [...] She would beg me to bring her to technical rehearsals. She would sit in the audience with the lady that was on book and she would hold the flashlight because they would do it at night.

That’s incredibly cute that Zendaya wanted to tag with her mother at work. I can’t say I blame her, as I’d probably want front seats to those dance rehearsals too. As the former child star was in a hip-hop dance group at around the age of eight, it’s no wonder her start on Disney Channel was playing a teen background dancer in Shake it Up!. It looks like the actress/singer got the moves early on. Not only was Claire Stoermer a house manager for that theater company, but she took on a new responsibility with the dancers that was an added benefit to the Euphoria actress getting to participate in the theater camp as a performer herself. She continued:

So, I worked out a deal with them. I became the videographer. So, I videographed all the performances, made them into DVDs, and they sold them to the parents and that paid for Zendaya's tuition. So, she did these summer conservatories with Cal Shakes that were amazing. She was in As You Like It, King Richard. She's a little Shakespearean. Then she did one or two little commercials.

To think that Zendaya’s mom’s DVDs of the dancers were what helped pay for her daughter’s tuition to Cal Shakes Summer Conservatory. It’s incredibly impressive that at a young age, the Challengers actress already had Shakespeare down flat. It looks like that’s another thing she has in common with her boyfriend Tom Holland, as he just starred in the West End revival of Romeo and Juliet. Hopefully we can see Zendaya show off her Shakespeare skills too.

But, Claire Stoermer’s story didn’t end there. After Zendaya got to participate in the stage works of Cal Shakes, her acting career was just beginning to take off:

But then her agent in San Francisco said, ‘Hey, they're looking for people in L.A. We think Zendaya could probably make that move down there.’ And when we asked her if she wanted to, she was like, ‘Yeah, of course! I totally want to!’ And so her and her dad went down to L.A. She got an agent and a manager and like literally six months later, she booked that Disney job and then they were moving to L.A.

There you have it. That move to L.A. was clearly the best thing for Zendaya, whose career is going nowhere but up. Zendaya’s parents are still there for her through it all, whether it's her mom’s red carpet fashion opinions or them watching their daughter’s works, including the “sexy” scenes featured in Challengers and Euphoria. Hey, it may have been awkward for the Malcolm & Marie actress, but luckily she had a lighthearted approach to her family watching, as they knew what they were getting into watching the mature-rated content.

Zendaya is incredibly lucky to have a mom whose second job benefited the actress’s career. It took selling dancer DVDs to pay for her daughter’s tuition into a summer conservatory, where she eventually landed an agent, a manager and a move to L.A. When you hear Zendaya’s mom talk about her daughter, you can tell how proud she is of her and the successful journey she’s taken in her career. You can watch the 2024 movie release of Challengers in theaters now.

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.