Zendaya's come a long way since her Shake It Up days.
"A lot of people don't realise their power," Zendaya told Vogue. "I have so many friends who say yes to everything or feel like they can't stand up for themselves in a situation... No: You have the power."
For Zendaya, that power came when she met with Disney Channel executives about her second TV show, K.C. Undercover, which she still stars in. The actress rejected the show's original title, Super Awesome Katy, and she asked Disney that her character be "martial arts-trained," not "artistically inclined."
"She can't dance; she can't sing. She can't do that stuff," Zendaya told Vogue of her K.C. Undercover character. "There are other things that a girl can be."
Of course, Zendaya wasn't always the confident powerhouse she is today. The actress revealed to Vogue that her parents went to seminars about parenting shy children — and her shyness caused her to repeat kindergarten. Still, Vogue notes, Zendaya was "drawn to performing," despite her shyness. It wasn't long before she was scouted, and Disney offered her the Shake It Up role that launched her to stardom.
Zendaya's strength extends offscreen, too. The Vogue profile notes the 2015 incident in which Giuliana Rancic said that the actress's Oscars dreadlocks suggested she "smells like patchouli oil or weed." Zendaya wrote a passionate response on Instagram, which earned praise from Viola Davis, Ava DuVernay, and many others. Zendaya has a voice, and she's not afraid to use it — and she wants other women to feel the same way, too.
The July issue of Vogue hits newsstands on June 27.