A Truly “Euphoric” Experience



In this video grab captured on Sept. 20, 2020, courtesy of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and ABC Entertainment, Zendaya accepts the award for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for “Euphoria” during the 72nd Emmy Awards broadcast. (The Television Academy and ABC Entertainment via AP)

A little girl sits on the floor of her living room, staring intently at the flickering television. Her mother stands at the sink, washing the dishes to that night’s dinner, occasionally watching the screen, while her father sits at the kitchen table doing some late night work. The child shoots up from her position on the carpet, pointing to the screen with her eyes wide in amazement and exclaims, “Look, Mama! She won!”

Twenty-four-year-old actress and singer, Zendaya, made history becoming the youngest woman to win an Emmy for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Rue in the hit TV show, Euphoria

Some would argue that a more experienced actress deserved the award, but I disagree. 

For years, Zendaya has been a role model for millions of young girls around the country as they’ve followed her career as children through Disney and then as teenagers through Euphoria. Time and time again, Zendaya has proven her worth, inspiring girls, especially African American girls, to ignore social standards and work hard for what they want.

As a teenager in the film industry, Zendaya had to find herself and become who she wanted to be, not what everyone else wanted her to be. I believe that is a strong message towards today’s youth; regardless of your race, gender, or nationality, you still get to decide your future.

Unlike many celebrities, Zendaya uses her platform to support movements and ideas she believes in, reaching her millions of fans and followers around the world. Zendaya has always been humble, and I like to think that’s what makes her so admired and idolized.

Most of Zendaya’s audience consists of teenagers and young adults and she recognizes that, knowing they’re the reason she’s made it to where she is today. 

“There is hope in the young people out there,” Zendaya said in her speech, seconds after winning the groundbreaking award. 

She then went on to talk about the Black Lives Matter movement and how the younger generations are at the forefront of it. As a black woman in the film industry, Zendaya has been actively supporting the movement as it’s been progressing during the past couple of months, making sure to recognize the efforts that are being made.

“I just want to say to all my peers out there, doing the work in the streets, I see you, I admire you, I thank you,” she said.

A couple of weeks prior to the awards ceremony, Zendaya did an interview with The Hollywood Reporter along with a couple of other female actresses like Jennifer Aniston, Janelle Monáe, and Reese Witherspoon. She explained her journey with Euphoria and how it was challenging to portray a character that was so different from her previous roles in her career. 

“I wanted to prove myself… I know that there was something that I was capable of, that I just hadn’t had a project to pour that into,” she reflected.

Knowing this role was important to not just her, but to those struggling with addiction and depression, Zendaya was scared to take it.

“[I was] worried I didn’t have the room to make a mistake…I felt that pressure within myself,” she expressed, then explaining how she dealt with her fear.

“If you go to work and you’re scared, that’s a good thing. You should be worried about whether you can do it or not.” 

A fear of failure is something I’m sure every person has felt at some point in their lives. 

You see all these people on television living perfect lives, happily meandering through their days while you’re sitting around watching and waiting for it to happen to you. 

However, I find it refreshing how real Zendaya is. She is herself on and off camera which makes an impact on how her audience views and imitates her. In my opinion, Zendaya’s immense success comes from how she carries herself and the way she shows herself to the world. To me, that is the best quality someone can have. To show yourself in a vulnerable way without a care of what others might think of you is admirable.

But the question is, how do we reach that point?

That lies in doing things that make you happy instead of things you think others will like you more in doing. Things that make you more confident in your own body. Things that bring you closer to your goals.

Those goals are the ones you made the day you saw a girl that looked like you and talked like you win an award that made you believe you could make it.