In all of my posts about Zendaya since she was nominated for her first Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama a couple of months ago, I wrote about her coming into this with nothing to lose – because she was not the favourite. She was such a longshot I was expecting it wouldn’t happen. And, let’s be real, I don’t think any expert believed it would happen. Because the overwhelming favourite in the category was Jennifer Aniston. And if there was to be an Emmy surprise, a major upset, could Zendaya at 24 years old win over Hollywood’s Prom Queen, everyone’s favourite Friend, Miss Congeniality?
Yeah, I guess so!
And you can’t overstate this, that it’s a monster upset. Which is why that Emmys moment was so much fun – it’s not just because Zendaya is so popular (she was trending on Twitter even before the Emmys started), it’s because, finally, when the unpredictability of the night was becoming almost too much, this was a wakeup.
Zendaya is now just the second Black woman to win in the Lead Drama category and the youngest ever to win in the category. What’s also worth considering is whether or not this would have happened if not for lockdown. The fact is, most Emmy voters are home now, not able to work. With so much quality television available, and not much time, especially when shows are in production, let’s face it – Emmy voters in the past weren’t watching everything and everyone nominated. Ballots were often filled in based on reputation, hype, and buzz. Now though? Totally different story. People are consuming much more than they could before. They’ve had the opportunity to compare and contrast; needless to say, television academy members are not just impressed with Zendaya, they’re impressed enough to put her on top in a category with names like Aniston and Sandra Oh and Laura Linney and… Olivia Colman! For her, then, it might be that much more meaningful.
Even though, you know, it wasn’t the same. Or maybe it was exactly as it should have been, surrounded by family and friends.
Here’s another angle:
Look at the surprise on all their faces! Look at the … um… euphoria! (Sorry.)
But let’s kick it back to last year at the Emmys. She was kicking off a new era of her career with Euphoria and Rue. She and Law Roach, image architect, made a point of it when she said farewell to her Disney days in that Cinderella light-up ballgown at the MET Gala. When we posted about her at the Emmys, in that unforgettable green dress, we predicted she’d be back. And holy sh-t did she ever come back. She came back to be crowned…
Even though we’d already put her in the fashion hall of fame, no longer eligible for best dressed consideration because, well, she’s always going to be best dressed whenever she shows up – and then she showed up with the fashion, and snatched the trophy. What a flex.
As for the fashion… I can’t decide which look I like better. So this is a flex. She brought the fashion…and she came with the function. And she took a risk. Here’s why. Her first look, the Christopher John Rogers dress, which I LOVE, the shape of the skirt and the power shoulders and the band across the waist, all of it so so SO good, was worn for presenting duties:
She was shot full body, during the broadcast, at Staples Center, with maximum eyeballs appreciating the full outfit.
The second dress, custom Armani Privé, is probably what more people could consider the more special of the two. Where the first option was a presenter’s look, the second is…well…. a winner’s look. And remember, at least on broadcast, since she was an underdog in the category, going into this thing, there was no guarantee this outfit would have been seen top to bottom on full frame. In the end, of course, we got the shot, but this had to have been a consideration – and she went for it anyway. Like, I get it, you’re telling me we’d see it on Instagram anyway, but you also want to win and lose in your big baller gown.
Even during a f-cking pandemic, Zendaya can still bring it. In Zendaya we trust.