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Zendaya talks diversity in film, light skin privilege + more

DIVERSITY: Zendaya

21-YEAR-old actress Zendaya has served as a role model for women of colour through her defiant efforts to increase on-screen representation.

The Greatest Showman star says she is unafraid to remind Hollywood who she, is and here's how she’s using her position of power to turn the industry on its head.

At this years Beautycon in New York, the singer and actress said: “As a black woman, as a light-skinned black woman, it’s important that I’m using my privilege, my platform, to show you how much beauty there is in the African-American community.”

Addressing the industry's reluctance to cast black women, Zendaya added: “I am Hollywood’s, I guess you could say, acceptable version of a black girl, and that needs to change. We’re vastly too beautiful and too interesting for me to be the only representation of that.”

The star, who has become the latest face to grace the cover of Marie Clare's September magazine, strives to create opportunities and build paths for those to walk in her footsteps.

“I decide what projects I want to take on or if I want to produce. I’ve really found the power in just doing what makes me happy,” she said.

Yet, her journey into acting has always been reminded that the industry wasn't created with the black women in mind, as Hollywood’s standards have notoriously been criticized for upholding white beauty.

Standing her ground and putting women of colour first, Zendaya said: “I always tell my theatrical manager, “Anytime it says they’re looking for white girls, send me out. Let me get in the room."

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