Freeman Cebu Entertainment

What made Zendaya return to Disney?

Ernesto M. Maceda - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Zendaya has become a force to be reckoned with.

Whether she’s slaying it with her style on red carpets or making bold statements about feminism, the “Replay” songstress is all business. Despite being only 19 years old, Zendaya knows what she wants and goes for it, which is exactly why she made it clear that she would return to Disney under one condition.

“The only way I was going to come back to the Disney Channel was if I was in a position of more power,” Zendaya reveals in the July issue of Cosmopolitan, which also serves as the singer-actress’ very first cover for the magazine.

“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.”

Now, Zendaya serves not only as the star of “K.C. Undercover” but also a co-producer.

But Zendaya’s powerful voice didn’t end there. The Disney Channel star recalls a time when someone was racially insensitive on set, which is something Zendaya won’t stand for.

“I didn’t like my hair and makeup one time on a photo shoot, and my publicist told me, ‘You should just be happy with it—they haven’t had a black girl on the cover since forever,’” she shares.

“She’s no longer my publicist.”

When it comes to her love life, Zendaya has been very private. Earlier this year she was rumored to be dating Odell Beckham Jr. after they were spotted arm in arm at a Grammys after-party, but her father, Kazembe Ajamu Coleman, later joked that the NFL star was simply “auditioning” for the role of boyfriend. Not wanting to fuel the rumor mill, Zendaya clarified his comments.

“Here’s the thing, a couple of things, first of all it wasn’t really a date,” she explained. “We went to some events together, because we’re friends. We were with a group, we were with multiple people. I was with my stylist and everything like that.”

As for whether she’s looking for something serious or playing the field, Zendaya says, “I would much rather be in love and have the full experience with the person I’m doing that with. Everyone deserves to be in love—it’s different from when you’re with someone you don’t really know. But as long as you protect yourself and get tested periodically, then by all means, go ahead and do what you’ve got to do!” (FREEMAN)

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