Zendaya: My Queen By: Livy Arensdorf

"Shake it up!" I am singing and dancing to my heart's content. I sit by my TV, transfixed by Zendaya in the Disney Channel show, Shake It Up as a young kid. I think to myself that I want to be like Zendaya, the strong, beautiful, and confident girl that is before me. She is my icon. She is my role model. She is my hero.

I have grown up with Zendaya and have flourished as a person with her.

"'Shake It Up' definitely teaches kids about the importance of reaching for your dreams and setting high goals. It also teaches great lessons about friendship and family."- Zendaya

One of my favorite features about Zendaya is that she continuously does herself to the fullest and isn't afraid to be quirky or divergent.

"Nobody's ugly, that doesn't exist. I say, take the time to get to know who you are, take the time to love yourself, and everything will be all right."- Zendaya

Little acts of confidence that Zendaya partakes, like wearing audacious outfits and funky hair to events, makes a big statement.

Zendaya being nominated for Breakout Artist of the Year shows me that if you set your mind to something, along with believing and achieving, you will succeed.

Zendaya stimulates a love in me for my individuality in life and influences me to be independent.

"That's the person I plan on being for a very long time: someone who stands up, someone who is an advocate for people, [even if it's for] something that some people think is only hair. I think it's more than just that. I want to be a spokesperson for self-love and for diversity."- Zendaya

Fast forward 5 years of my life and Zendaya doesn't fail to influence me and hep contribute to me becoming a better version of myself each and every day. In so many ways I can relate to her as a person and can connect to her outlooks on life and her goals, but at the same time I aspire to reach her level of nobility and self-worth.

​ Not only is Zendaya a model, singer, actress, and featured on the cover of many famous magazines, she is a women's rights ambassador and champion who is not afraid to speak her mind. Zendaya inspires me to be tenacious and become an over-achiever with everything she has accomplished over the years. She is very well-rounded and can conquer to balance many things at one time. She gives back to the community and is a sensational asset to society. I admire her zest for life and her perspective on how one should live.

"I am so honored to join the company of a roster as celebrated and diverse as Covergirl's. I can't wait to share some of my own beauty tips with fans and work alongside Covergirl to continue empowering girls and women to celebrate their individuality."- Zendaya

"You shouldn’t feel discouraged if you’re not waking up and feeling amazing about yourself . . . as long as you take every opportunity to learn more about yourself and fall more in love with yourself every day, you’re doing good."- Zendaya

She has taught me countless valuable lessons, including to be bold, have a voice, and have confidence in my own skin. Her powerful words help me strive to lead a life where I not only have consideration and compassion for my peers and others around me, but for myself. She devotes her time to working on herself and giving back to the community, which is a positive example that has been set for me.

Here, Zendaya is asking for donations to help support an underprivileged family in South Africa, instead of receiving presents for her birthday.

Zendaya has created her own fashion line, Daya by Zendaya, which showcases models in all different sizes and ethnic backgrounds with her designed clothes on. My goal is to follow in her footsteps and start my own fashion line and inspire others around me to follow their dreams.

"I want to show that you don’t have to be older to live your dreams; you can do it at any age." -Zendaya

What really spoke to me was when Zendaya commented back on Twitter to a girl who was being tormented about her body. Zendaya responded by defending the girl, complimenting her, and offering her a spot to be a model in her fashion company. Zendaya stands up against body shaming and many other acts of bullying, like racism. Someone made a racist remark about her outfit and dreadlocks at the Oscar's red carpet, saying she "looks like she would smell of weed". Being her courageous self, she wrote a long tweet about the ignorant, disrespectful comment and how it was criticism to her and society. These acts of bravery don't only teach me to speak up against negative words, but also to be self-assured and to accept myself, insecurities and all.

This is Zendaya responding back to the girl being body shamed on Twitter.

Another reason why I gained respect for Zendaya is because she uses her social media platform to speak out against how woman's bodies are being portrayed on the internet. When she found out that a heavily edited picture of her was leaked on the internet, she made the photographer take it down by reporting the fake hips and edited legs the company made her have and how it was wrong. This is a powerful, important message that demonstrates that one should be content in their own body and accept themselves.

Zendaya has endless amazing character traits and she is so empowering, especially to young girls like myself. She is a driven, motivated feminist with lots of grit and determination that inspires me. She is extremely humble, down to earth, and very modest. These qualities are very encouraging and uplifting for female youth, like me.

I commend her trait to be her unique self and not alter her appearance because of fear of being ridiculed or being different from the rest.

"When you're put in a position to really affect young people who are going to run the world one day, if you're able to be in their life at a young age and make a positive impact, I think that's a beautiful thing."- Zendaya on being a role model.

This strong-willed and impactful women has cultivated and instilled so many heroic traits in me. Her vivid persona has made my life colorful in so many sensational ways. She has shed a positive light on me and has been so genuine, real, and true to herself. In that case, she is not only my role model, she is my real model.

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