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It's not exactly news that being a woman in Hollywood is tough. The job is likely stressful for anybody. You're always in the public eye and so the world sees everything you do. The mistakes that the rest of us make in life are amplified for actors because everybody sees them. And women have additional pressure on them simply for being women. We all make mistakes, it's part of life, but Spider-Man: Far From Home actress Zendaya says she's always felt she hasn't had the room to make mistakes that others have.
Recently, THR put together an actress round table that included Janelle Monae, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Helena Bonham Carter, Rose Byrne and Zendaya. The women all spoke about their experiences in Hollywood, and Zendaya admitted that she's felt like she has to work harder to avoid making mistakes because of her path through the industry, as well as who she is as a person. Zendaya explained...
It's a constant thing. Being a young Disney actor, that's one level, being a young Black woman is one level, and then being very hard on myself is another level. It's also just a personal fear. I want to do a good job, and sometimes that can cause you to be fearful of things. But I will say that there's something that happens when a special character comes along, for me at least, and those fears melt away. They don't come back until it starts airing, which is when I started to get a little scared again. (Laughter.) But now, I'm excited to go back because the motivation is to work harder and become a better actress. I just want to get better.
Before Zendaya became MJ in the Spider-Man movies or turned heads in Euphoria, she was part of the Disney Channel's stable of child stars on shows like K.C. Undercover and Shake it Up. We've seen many an actor or singer start out in just that way, but there is frequently a stigma or stereotype that comes along with that history that has needed to be shaken off by everybody from Miley Cyrus to Demi Lovato. Zendaya was clearly conscious of this herself and apparently felt that because of that history she needed to prove herself that much more.
On top of that, she's a young Black woman in an industry that is still mostly older white men. It's not exactly a secret that roles are more limited for somebody in her position, and as such, there's likely a fear that mistakes could harm her overall career, if only because the options are already limited.
Ultimately, however, Zendaya says that most of the pressure to avoid mistakes comes from herself and her own desire to simply get better at what she does. Any stigma attached to her Disney past should certainly have been dealt with by now, and while the other elements are certainly important, one hopes that we're working toward them not being a problem one day as well.