Zendaya Coleman Bio

Fourteen-year-old Zendaya Coleman has caught everyone’s eye as Raquel, the hopeful and funny dancer on Disney’s Shake It Up! But before her big-screen debut she was turning heads as a catalogue model and serious Shakespearean actress. Find out more in her KW bio!

Zendaya the “Thankful”

Zendaya has to have one of the most interesting names in showbiz today: a Shona (Zimbabwean) word that means “to give thanks.” And Zendaya has a lot to be thankful for! Her interest in acting started at a young age. She was born in Oakland, California; her mom, Claire, was house manager for the California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda. Zendaya realized the stage was for her at a young age and studied at the theater conservatory.

A Star at School

The California Shakespeare Theater wasn’t the only place Zendaya got to learn her craft; she attended the Oakland School for Arts during the day and landed a role in "Once on this Island" at the prestigious Berkley Playhouse. She also went to the American Conservatory to study her craft (and we think it shows)!

Backstage Beauty

While her mother worked at the theater and Zendaya studied, Zendaya also helped seat people, take tickets and learn about theater life by working backstage...until the curtain rose of course. At that point, Zendaya would also be performing on stage in plays like Shakespeare’s Richard III, Twelfth Night and As You Like It. But theater is not where Zendaya got her first big break; modelling came before that! Zendaya modelled for big names like Macy’s, Mervyn’s, Old Navy and for iCarly toys!

Shaking it Up!

We love Zendaya as one-half of the comic dancing duo trying to make their way to fame (along with fellow starlet Bella Thorne as CeCe Jones) on Shake it Up! But the show isn’t the first time the actress has put on dancing shoes to impress; she used to be a backup dancer for Selena Gomez in a Sears commercial and also starred in the Kidz Bop music video for their cover of Hot n Cold. Zendaya loves to sing as much as she loves to dance! Her single Swag it Out is available on iTunes right now, and the starlet hopes to put a record out one day and work more in television. Last fall she told Variety Magazine: "I love singing and would love to record an album at some point."

Haven't heard Swag it Out yet? Here's a preview!



Did You Know...

  • Zendaya has a lot of nicknames, including Zen, Boo, and Daya
  • She would loves to design clothes
  • Zendaya currently lives in L.A. with her dog Midnight
  • Zendaya once said: “If I could have a dancing with the stars partner it would be Michael Jackson, but since I can't any more – sadly – it would be Roshon Fegan
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