The Euphoria star discussed her 14-year-old-self’s first red carpet look during an interview with InStyle editor-in-chief Laura Brown for the cover of the magazine’s best-dressed November issue, where she was asked what she would say to her younger self at that moment.
According to the 25-year-old actor, she would tell herself to “keep doing what you’re doing,” as she “felt cool” in her Target outfit and that’s “really all that matters”.
“Keep doing what you’re doing. When I was 14 and at my first movie premiere, my outfit was a bunch of stuff that I had from Target. And I thought I was fly. I felt cool,” Zendaya said. “To this day, I think that’s really all that matters. Then you know you’re doing the right thing.”
However, she still remembers her first designer spluge, with the actor recalling how she’d purchased a “teeny Louis Vuitton bag” during her first trip to Paris for her Disney show Shake It Up, which she still has “somewhere”.
During the interview, Zendaya also revealed that, as she has gotten older, she has thought of red carpets as “having their own characters and narratives,” which allow her to build a specific story and “embody” a different persona through clothes for each occasion.
“It’s like an extension of my acting career in a weird way – you just pop this wig on or whatever it is. Clothes sometimes are very emotional, so I get to embody these different facets – maybe they’re of myself, or maybe they’re alter egos. But I get to meet these different women through clothes,” she explained, adding that she also occasionally spends time practising her red carpet poses before an event to “see what poses work with the silhouette”.
As for her favourite red carpet looks so far, the Spiderman star revealed that she has a few favourites, including the Joan of Arc custom metallic Versace gown that she wore to the 2018 Met Gala, the Moschino butterfly gown that she wore to the premiere of The Greatest Showman in 2017, and the pink cropped Tom Ford breastplate that she wore to the 2020 Critics’ Choice Awards, which she said made her feel like a “warrior” and like “nothing could hurt me”.
The Emmy winner is also still a fan of her controversial “David Bowie mullet,” the blonde mullet that she wore while channeling a young David Bowie at the 2016 Grammys, which she acknowledged wasn’t popular at the time.
“I got dragged for my mullet at the time, but kids love mullets now. I’m happy about my David Bowie mullet,” she said.
While speaking with Brown, Zendaya also shared some of her fashion inspirations, including Cher, who she said she and stylist Law Roach would love to have style her, late actress Diahann Carroll, and her grandmothers.