Zendaya: 'I let go of my publicist over black girl remark'
Zendaya fired a former publicist over a racially-insensitive mark she made during a photoshoot.
The star was unhappy about the way her hair and makeup looked for the shoot and she complained about it to her publicist, who had a shocking response.
"My publicist told me, 'You should just be happy with it - they haven't had a black girl on the cover since forever,' she tells Cosmopolitan magazine. "She's no longer my publicist."
The 19-year-old has been vocal about diversity issues in Hollywood. In February, 2015, Zendaya verbally sparred with Fashion Police co-host Giuliana Rancic after she joked the teen looked like she smelled of "patchouli... maybe weed" while commenting on the hippie-style dreadlocks the actress and singer debuted on the red carpet at the Academy Awards. Coleman fired back, branding the remarks "offensive" and "disrespectful," and Rancic subsequently apologised.
Zendaya previously stated it was important to take a stand over the comments to show fans they needed to face their tormentors and challenge anyone making derogatory remarks about women.
The strength she gained from he stand-off with Rancic - and the positive feedback she received - helped her make the decision to return to the Disney Channel to star in and co-produce hit new show K.C. Undercover.
"The only way I was going to come back to the Disney Channel was if I was in a position of more power," she says. "One thing that is really important to me is diversity on the channel. It's hard as a young person of a different ethnicity or background to look at the TV and not see anyone who looks like you. Representation is very important."
In the new Cosmopolitan interview, Zendaya also opens up about her dating life after she was linked to American football star Odell Beckham, Jr. - but she insists they are just friends.
"We went to some events together, because we're friends," she previously told 92.3 AMP Radio. "We were with a group, we were with multiple people. I was with my stylist."
- Cover Media