Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman celebrates her birthday today. Her name means “giving thanks” in the language of the African Shona tribe. She was born in Oakland, California to teacher parents Claire Stoermer and Kazembe Ajamu Coleman. Her father is African-American, while her mother has German and Scottish ancestry; she is the youngest of five older siblings.
She began her career as a child model working for Macy’s and Old Navy and a backup dancer before gaining prominence for her role as Rocky Blue on the Disney Channel sitcom Shake It Up. She made her film breakthrough in 2017, starring as Michelle “MJ” Jones in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). Zendaya would reprise that role for the subsequent Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). In 2019, her role in the HBO drama series Euphoria catapulted her acting career even further, starring as a teenager named Rue struggling with drug addiction. This led her to become the youngest winner of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.
Besides her role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Zendaya has proved she can be quite the dramatic actress. In 2021, she starred alongside John David Washington in the black and white romance drama, Malcom & Marie. Her upcoming film, Challengers, stars Zendaya as Tashi, a former tennis prodigy turned coach. Married to a champion on a losing streak (Mike Faist), Tashi’s strategy for her husband’s redemption takes a surprising turn when he must face off against the washed-up Patrick (Josh O’Connor) – his former best friend and Tashi’s former boyfriend when they were teenagers.
We’ve compiled our favorite looks Zendaya has so graciously posted on her Instagram below in honor of her birthday.