Bella Thorne Talks Being ‘Pitted’ Against Zendaya On Shake It Up, And What Being A Child Star Was Like At The Time

Zendaya and Bella Thorne in Shake It Up

Disney holds a special place in the heart of many, whether it be from their animated classics or from the live-action series and original movies on the Disney Channel. Many famous stars have gotten their start as a Disney kid, from Ryan Gosling and Justin Timberlake who started out in The Mickey Mouse Club to newer generation stars like Zendaya and Bella Thorne. Being a child star does seem to come with its own special set of unfortunate situations, though, and Thorne says she and Zendaya were pitted against each other while filming their breakthrough show, Shake It Up.

Bella Thorne and Zendaya began starring together on Shake It Up in 2010, and they also shot a few music videos together during the same time as their dance series. While their Shake It Up characters were quite close, Thorne and Zendaya didn’t get along very well early on. Thorne says that the two young stars were pitted against each other during the beginning of the series, oftentimes to encourage the actresses to compete against one another. In Thorne’s own words:

We had to deal with that so much on Shake It Up. It’s like we said [in] a couple interviews when we were younger, how we explained how in the first season we weren’t friends and it took us those other two seasons of becoming so close. [It was hard] not having someone pitted against you [before] and then all of a sudden, now everyone is pitting you against each other. That fed into our heads. It made us not [be] friends in that first season.

While Bella Thorne and Zendaya's characters would occasionally be at odds with each other due to their differing personalities, the two were mostly the best of friends. Unfortunately, it sounds like that definitely wasn't the case during the early days of Shake it Up. So what changed between the two?

Well, even though Bella Thorne and Zendaya had a rocky start, the two were able to come together and figure out a way to have a meaningful friendship. In the same interview with Us Magazine, Thorne says that the two actresses, even though very young, came together and had a "beautiful talk in the middle of a sound stage," which allowed them to work out their differences. The two still have a good relationship, and Thorne has mad love for her former co-star. In her own words:

Zendaya’s amazing. I fucking love her. She’s always been amazing and she’s always going to be amazing. I’m just happy that people see that. She’s getting the recognition she deserves. That just makes me so happy. I feel like when people put us against each other, it’s just like, … ‘Why are you doing this? Is it just because we’re women?’

Unfortunately, I=it’s not uncommon to see successful people, especially women, put down and compared to one another. The real magic happens when they can lift each other up and be happy for another person’s success. Bella Thorne really shows her spark here.

Both actresses have had successful childhood careers on Disney, and now both women are seeing success in more mature mediums. Zendaya is making waves with her recent film, Malcolm & Marie, and her upcoming role in the Dune reboot. Bella Thorne has kept her musical talents through her adulthood, has dominated OnlyFans, and has also had a number of significant roles, like her starring role in The Babysitter: Killer Queen.

The pitfalls that effect childhood stardom may affect a number of former young stars into adulthood, but it doesn’t seem to have negatively impacted Zendaya and Bella Thorne’s relationship. Thorne, it appears, has completely looked past their shakey beginnings and can be happy for the separate successes both women are achieving now. Of course, if I was raking in millions on OnlyFans alone, I don’t think I’d hold a grudge against anyone, either!

Carlie Hoke
Content Writer

Constantly thinking about books, coffee, and the existential dread I feel from Bo Burnham’s Inside.  While writing I’m also raising a chaotic toddler, who may or may not have picked up personality traits from watching one too many episodes of Trailer Park Boys.