Zendaya by AB+DM for Instyle US September 2020

Zendaya Dreams Again in InStyle Magazine

Queen Zendaya has graced the pages of InStyle Magazine with the help of AB+DM behind the camera. In her cover story, Zendaya got the chance to speak with Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors to talk about about the adjustments being made during the pandemic, anxiety, and activism towards the progression of black lives.

Zendaya by AB+DM for Instyle US September 2020

Being Creative During Covid and Civil Unrest

It’s been tough to stay creative and motivated [during this time] because there are so many things that can take you down emotionally. And then, of course, everything that has happened [following the death of George Floyd] has been devastating. I didn’t know what I could do to help. And that’s when I reach out to people like you. Because at the end of the day, I’m just an actress, you know? And I don’t pretend to be anything other than that. If I don’t know something, then I ask people who are actually on the front lines doing the work. I’m up in the bleachers, not on the field. So I always think, “How can I cheer you on and be a part of something greater than myself?”

Zendaya by AB+DM for Instyle US September 2020


“Well, you’re actually one of the people who are inspiring me. I can’t imagine the immense pressure you carry. And you carry it so gracefully. You always have a smile on your face. If I were under half of that emotional stress, nobody would hear from me. So that courageousness and selflessness, I admire. Sometimes I’m inspired by moments too, like a good conversation with my grandmother. In quarantine, you have to hold on to the sweet little things.”

Zendaya by AB+DM for Instyle US September 2020

Managing Stress and Anxiety

” My anxiety first started when I was younger and I had to take a test at school. I remember panicking, and my teacher had to walk me out of the room and say, ‘Calm down, deep breaths.’ I don’t think it really came up again until I was about 16, when I was working and there was a project I had turned down. That was kind of my first time dealing with the internet, and it made me feel sick. I deleted everything and stayed in my room. Live performing really gave me anxiety too. I think a lot of it stems from the pressure I put on myself, wanting to do my best and not make a mistake. I definitely don’t have it under control yet. I don’t have the key, so if anybody does, let me know! I do find that talking about it is helpful, and that can often mean calling my mom in the middle of the night. Sometimes I make her sleep on the phone with me like a frickin’ baby.”

Zendaya by AB+DM for Instyle US September 2020

Shooting with an All-Black Team

“I’ve always had a Black stylist and Black hair and makeup artists. But we were able to work with two talented young Black photographers on this shoot too. We’re actually around the same age, so it was cool to be with my peers and have an opportunity to show what we can do. There are also so many Black designers people don’t know about, so having an opportunity where they can be in InStyle and get the love they deserve is really special. I hope people are like, ‘Oh, I like that dress!’ And then go support them.”

Zendaya by AB+DM for Instyle US September 2020


“I have always hesitated to use the word ‘activist’ for myself. That is a lifestyle. That is a choice every day to be doing the work and devoting your life to a cause. And I don’t feel I am deserving of the title. There are a lot of words that better describe what I do. I’m an actress, but I’m also just a person who has a heart and wants to do the right thing. I care about human beings, so this time is very hard to talk about. It’s painful. I remember when I was with my dad in Atlanta shooting the first Spider-Man movie, and it was around the time that the murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling happened. I was extremely emotional, and I remember thinking about my dad, who was out picking up food at the time. And I started worrying and calling him like, ‘Are you OK?’ I didn’t want him to go out and do anything. But my dad is a 65-year-old Black man. He’s been on this planet a long time, so he knows what he knows. But I still had that fear, and that scared me.”

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