From October 22, she is back on Disney Channel Africa in her latest sitcom KC Undercover. The show debuted earlier this year in America and also managed to get the green light for a second season – which is set to air soon.
Zendaya also serves as a co-producer on the show and has a lot to say about her new show on TV.
Tell us about your character KC Cooper: do you share any similarities?
KC is a regular girl. What’s really cool is we’re both regular girls, but we have this other side to our personalities and our lives. KC gets to be a spy and I get to be on TV.
What is the best part about being a co-producer on the series?
I would say the fact that I am able to have creative input is really cool and I’m able to have fun and just explore what my vision is. If I have an idea for the show or anything that I feel I want to create then I have the space and the place to do that. It’s awesome.
Do you have a motto you live by in life?
My own personal motto would have to be DFTS, which stands for Don’t Forget to Smile. I use that a lot and always thinking about the positive over the negative. Smiling is just one of those positive things to do!
KC is a mathematical genius; what would you say that you’re really good at?
KC is talented in lots of ways; she’s academically talented and she’s also great at martial arts. For me, my talents are more geared towards the Arts. They are very different to KC’s talents, but we both have a job to do.
What’s the bravest thing that you’ve ever done in your life?
I would say that performing and going out on stage is one of the bravest things I’ve ever done. Whether it be on the show or performing on a stage, it takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there and do what you love to do in front of people. It takes a lot of confidence, and it’s not as easy as it may look.
You said that you were shy growing up. How did you cure your shyness? What advice would you give to people wanting to become more confident?
I can still be shy in different aspects of my life. What really helped me was forcing myself to try new things and test myself by going outside of my comfort zone. Bit by bit, you start to come out of your shell. It’s not something you rush; it’s something that you do a little bit at a time to build up your confidence step-by-step. You become less shy and more accustomed to being yourself and more open.
What are your beauty secrets?
My number one beauty secret is that natural is always the best way to go! This applies to everything; your hair and your skin. Sometimes, you just have to leave your skin alone and allow it to be what it needs to be. I say that to all my fans that are into make-up and flat irons; just let everything be natural and let it breathe!
What’s your top beauty tip?
Rehydration is my top beauty tip! Lotion is really key to rehydrate your skin so it’s important that you always moisturise and give nutrients back to your skin after a long day or when you get out of the shower.
What’s the best prank that you’ve ever had played on you?
I would definitely say that back when I was on Shake It Up we would have a prank war between the boys and the girls. We would tape everything to their desk so that when they tried to remove it they couldn’t. We also took hundreds and hundreds of pictures of ourselves and pinned them up all over their dressing room wall – it was the best prank ever!
You were on Fashion Police; what’s your favourite memory of Joan Rivers and what do you think of her replacement?
Joan Rivers was awesome. I remember her as someone who was so kind and very sweet to me. She was very funny and very real. She was at a point in her life where she could say and do what she wanted – she was fearless. She also didn’t mind making fun of herself, and she didn’t take herself too seriously either. She was an awesome person to be around and I will remember her fondly for all of those qualities.
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?
The best advice that I have ever received is to always count your blessings. Always think about all the great things you have in life before you think about the negative things. Don’t take anything you have for granted and always appreciate what you do have because it could be taken away from you at any time.
What do you do on a day off?
I sleep! I catch up on sleep and try to sleep for as long as possible. Some people don’t like to call sleeping a hobby, but I’m proud to say that I’m rather good at it. It’s almost like a sport, and not many people can put in the hours like I do. (She laughs)
What’s it like being a role model for teen girls?
It’s a great responsibility, and I’m aware of it. Honestly, I don’t look at myself as a role model and I don’t like to put pressure on myself in that way. I don’t just want to be a role model; I want to be a real model. I feel like I don’t really play a role, I’m not pretending to be someone because I know people are watching me. I genuinely just try to be who I am. I’m very conscious of the people who are looking up to me and watching me. At the end of the day, I’m pretty normal and happen to be a good kid and have supportive friends and family, so I don’t have to worry too much about that.
Bella Thorne is going to be appearing in an upcoming episode of K.C. Undercover, what was it like working with her again and have you remained friends since Shake It Up ended?
There was a character in the script that was interesting and fun – it was made for Bella. She was immediately the person who came to mind, and we thought it would be really cool to have her on the show and have us both play very different roles to our characters in Shake It Up. Rather than be friendly, I wanted us to be enemies in a sense! We get to fight each other; it’s really cool, but I’m not going to reveal the storyline – you’ll just have to wait and see. We still keep in contact regularly, I literally text her all the time.
Do you like dressing up for the red carpet?
I love dressing up for the red carpet. It’s a lot of fun because it’s not something I always get to do. I think fashion is something that people shouldn’t be afraid of – they should enjoy it. I like to wear things that make me feel confident and comfortable.
If you decide to go to university in the future, which course would you like to study and why?
I would like to study psychology, specifically child psychology. I think it’s because both of my parents are teachers and I grew up in that environment so there has always been that interest.
In terms of other Disney stars, who do you look up to and have any of them given you any good advice?
I would have to say Raven Simone from That’s So Raven because I got to meet her a long time ago and she is someone who I still remain in contact with today. Not only do I think she is a very talented and funny actress, I also have a lot of respect for her as a person. She is so friendly and made me feel very welcome from the first day that I met her. She didn’t have to be, so it’s great when someone you admire are as genuine as you hope they will be in real life.
If you weren’t an actress, what career path do you think you would be following?
That’s a tough question. I feel really grateful to be doing what I do and can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing. I think I was meant to be involved with the Arts. I’ve always been passionate about acting, singing and dancing.
What is your favourite fashion trend at the moment and do you have a must-have piece of clothing that you like to wear?
For me, I don’t believe in fashion trends. I don’t like to live by a rule that trends are here one day and gone the next. People should be able to wear whatever makes them feel confident and comfortable without feeling limited because something isn’t necessarily on-trend. I do have signature pieces that I enjoy. For example I love wearing sweatpants or joggers. I love making them look cool and chic, and finding different ways to dress them up for a party. It’s fun!
If you could give some advice to your 13-year-old self, what would it be?
I would tell myself to keep going. Especially at that time when I was auditioning. Sometimes you get discouraged when you don’t get a part or you don’t necessarily book the job that you wanted. I live by the advice that everything that’s meant to be will happen so I’d tell myself to continue to live and learn – live by that rule and you will be just fine!
What’s your biggest accomplishment to date and why?
I would say that my biggest accomplishment would be the fact that people look up to me and that I’ve been able to touch and inspire people, both young and old. To be able to touch someone in a really positive way is something that I’ve always wanted to do.