Zendaya Says She Dropped Her Publicist Over Racially Insensitive Comment

by Jackie Willis 8:41 AM PDT, June 02, 2016
Photo: Cosmopolitan

Zendaya recalls a remark made that ultimately led to her parting ways with her publicist.

"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,'" the 19-year-old actress tells Cosmopolitan magazine. "She's no longer my publicist."

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Zendaya -- who made headlines in 2015 after calling out Fashion Police's Giuliana Rancic for saying her dreadlocks at the Oscars looked like they smelled of "patchouli and weed" -- also says that her decision to return to her Disney Channel show, K.C. Undercover, was largely in part to bringing diversity to the channel. "The only way I was going to come back to the Disney Channel was if I was in a position of more power. One thing that is really important to me is diversity on the channel," she says. "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."

Photo: Cosmopolitan

In February, the TV star made headlines when she showed up with O'Dell Beckham Jr. -- who was recently partying with Khloe Kardashian -- to Universal Music Group's GRAMMY Awards after-party, and inevitably sparked romance rumors. Zendaya later shot down reports that she was dating the NFL pro, and tells Cosmo that she's looking for love rather than casual hookups.

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"Me, personally? I would much rather be in love and have the full experience with the person I’m doing that with," she explains. "Everyone deserves to be in love."

Photo: Cosmopolitan

That being said, Zendaya adds that she doesn't judge other people's choices. "It’s different from when you’re with someone you don’t really know," she says. "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!"

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When Zendaya chatted with ET while on the set of her Disney series, she was candid about the influence she has as a rising star. "I think it would be more intimidating if I felt like I was a role-model, a 'role model,' but I feel like I'm a real model -- in the words of Tupac Shakur," she shared. "Because I feel like I'm not trying to pretend to be a good kid, or I'm not trying to pretend to be something that I'm not. Honestly this is who I am. As long as I am able to get some inspiration to them -- then I've done my job."