Zendaya should teach a class on how to handle haters. As evidenced by her measured response to Giuliana Rancic's comments about her Oscars hair this week, the former Disney star, 18, isn't afraid to fight her own battles and challenge her critics — and she does so with remarkable eloquence.
The current controversy over her hair is a good example, of course, but there are others, too. Check out four instances below.
1. That Time People Said She "Wasn't Black Enough" to Play Aaliyah
Last year when she was cast as Aaliyah in Lifetime's biopic, Zendaya faced backlash from people who said she wasn't "black enough" to play the late R&B singer.
She ended up dropping out of the project not long after, but she made it very clear that it wasn't because of the vitriol she experienced. Explaining her decision in a series of Instagram videos, she scoffed at the suggestion that she "couldn't do it" or "wasn't talented enough" or "black enough" for the role. "It had absolutely nothing to do with that," she said.
"The production value wasn't there, there were complications with the music rights, and I just felt like it wasn't being handled delicately considering the situation," she continued. "I tried my best to reach out to [Aaliyah's] family on my own — I wrote a letter — but I was unable to do so. Therefore I felt not really morally okay with moving forward with the project."
She went on to publicly shame the people who had lobbied against her, urging them to be nicer to her successor. "Remember that we are all human beings trying to do what we love to do," she said. "Let's practice motivation and love, not discrimination and hate."
2. That Time Someone on Twitter Called Her Ugly
Earlier this year, a guy on Twitter wrote "Zendaya ugly as s–t." She shut him down simply by tweeting a super glam photo of herself in a slinky sequined dress with the caption "Ikr….." (shorthand for "I know, right?"). He quickly admitted defeat, responding with, "You right Lemme DM you boo."
— Zendaya (@Zendaya) January 5, 2015
3. That Time She Saw Right Through the Bitterness
In November 2013, she called out people who went out of their way to bring her down, tweeting:
People who take the time to go on my profile,examine my pic,find something negative AND comment!That's not a hater,that's an undercover fan????
— Zendaya (@Zendaya) November 27, 2013
4. That Time She Promoted Body Confidence for All Shapes and Sizes
In response to people telling her she was too thin, Zendaya tweeted that she was "naturally a skinny string bean" — and proud of it. She went on to rage against body shaming, saying she had "zero tolerance" for ignorance and encouraging her followers to love themselves, curves or no curves.
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