Zendaya is on the cover of the November issue of InStyle and they refer to her “boss phase” in the title. She’s 25 years old. She’s producing her own projects. She’s making space for other creatives, particularly Black creatives. She’s calling the shots but she’s also collaborative, in every aspect of her work, which includes fashion and style – to promote her projects and her own personal brand. As Law Roach says, he’s an “image architect” and in this business, image has value.
Speaking of business and the business she’s in, I like what Zendaya had to say about being more hands-on in the administrative and less creative parts of her job.
“It's interesting because with our profession, there's no real blueprint for how it works. When you have more of a corporate structure, there are promotions and you move up in the ranks. In this avenue, it's kind of like, "I don't know what I'm doing now." What I urge a lot of people to understand about this business is that it also is a business. It's the entertainment industry, and it's important to remember that money and contracts are involved. I try to be prepared and understand as much as I can about that too.”
That’s a really tangible way of describing how unique the entertainment industry is in certain ways. Of course there are parallels with any industry but in show business, as Zendaya notes, the “ranks” in this business aren’t often possible in other businesses. Very rarely do you see a person go from intern to CEO in six months in the corporate world, for example. In Hollywood, you can be unknown one minute and starring in your own feature film in less than a year. It’s not just the level of attention that you now have to contend with, it’s the practical side of it all too. It’s the paperwork, the contracts as she said, the money, the financial details, all of that comes at you fast. And we have seen the consequences of not being prepared and in control, not having the time to “move up the ranks” and gain experience, pick up the tools along the way that you will use at every step of your progression.
As she continues to take her career in new and more involved directions, Zendaya is thinking about what she has to learn, the skills she needs to hone, away from the camera. While, of course, being on camera. For over half her life.
Fashion, then, in some ways, is her way of taking charge of what can often not be up to a person’s control. “Image architect” then really is an apt job description for Law considering his partnership with Zendaya and how, together, they have built her image as part of her career. Zendaya the Best Dressed?
Obviously. Every year, and not just this one.
What does Zendaya being named Best Dressed mean to her? It’s recognition of actual work that she and Law do together to craft a mood for whatever it is she’s showing up for – whether it’s Euphoria or her a film or the launch of a fashion line or campaigning for an Emmy or transitioning between the adolescent phase of her career to her young adult phase and now into her boss phase. As she tells InStyle, fashion is also a form of expression; sometimes it’s a performance, sometimes it’s an extension of herself, sometimes it’s just an outlet for creative energy.
“I think about red carpets as having their own characters and narratives. We build a little story for all the looks. It's like an extension of my acting career in a weird way — you just pop this wig on or whatever it is. Clothes sometimes are very emotional, so I get to embody these different facets — maybe they're of myself, or maybe they're alter egos. But I get to meet these different women through clothes.”
That’s probably why clothes just hit different on her. She isn’t just wearing them…she’s feeling them, as corny as that sounds. I mean look at these images – it’s the wearing and the posing. And she does practise the posing! That’s work and it shows!
Can we talk about this eye makeup though? I WANT IT.