Zendaya Just Revealed Why She Refused to Do a Kissing Scene as a Teen
She shares the intimate reason she wouldn't lock lips onscreen.
Emmy Award-winning actor Zendaya Coleman is now one of the most prominent young talents in Hollywood, but she got her start on the Disney Channel as a teenager. Even at a young age, however, the star has always known what she wanted—and what she didn't want. In her Disney days, Zendaya advocated for herself on set, including when it came to a scene she refused to film. The actor just revealed the surprising reason she wouldn't do a kissing scene in her Disney Channel role. Read on to learn why Zendaya didn't want to lock lips with a co-star.
Zendaya didn't want her first kiss to be onscreen.
During an interview with British Vogue on Sept. 6, Zendaya revealed that she refused to do any kissing scenes on the Disney Channel show Shake It Up, which she starred on from 2010 to 2013. The actor wanted to make sure she had her first kiss off-camera before doing any kissing scenes that would be broadcast to the world. "I remember being on Shake It Up and being like, 'I'm not gonna do this. I'm going to kiss him on the cheek because I haven't been kissed yet, so I don't want the kiss to be on camera,'" Zendaya recalled.
In Feb. 2020, Zendaya discussed saying "no" to things that weren't right for her, acknowledging that it wasn't always an option as a teen actor. She told Vogue Australia, "When I wasn't in the position where I could say no to things, I would say yes and then, unfortunately, if it didn't feel good all the way through my body and my being, it would always come back to haunt me."
But Zendaya looks back at her Disney Channel days fondly.
During a January Actors on Actors interview for Variety with Carey Mulligan, Zendaya defended her time on the Disney Channel. "You surely can't think of yourself as a Disney kid now," Mulligan asked, after hearing Zendaya refer to herself as such.
"The thing is, I am [a Disney kid]. And to a degree, I am grateful for that," Zendaya answered. "That's where I started, and I learned so much from that experience. It's just kind of been this slow progression, and I am happy that it's all been to prove it to myself and not to anybody else, you know? I embrace it a little bit. It's part of my heritage to a degree."
Zendaya also cherishes her relationship with one former Disney cast mate. While chatting with British Vogue about some of her Instagram photos, Zendaya shared insight into her special bond with Shake It Up co-star Bella Thorne. "[We were] so young, and we were growing up together," Zendaya said, referring to herself and Thorne as "babies" at just 13 or 14. She explained that she and Thorne were the only two in their classroom, and they would have "hour-long digressions" just talking. Zendaya recalled other memorable moments, like making cupcakes with Thorne at her house. It was the "little things that were special," she said.
The star has now done more intimate scenes.
As Zendaya got older, she went on to appear in scenes that included more than just a kiss on the cheek. She starred in the first season of the explicit HBO series Euphoria, and she will appear in the second season, debuting later this year. Zendaya also starred alongside John David Washington in the two-person black-and-white film Malcolm and Marie. The movie was an intimate portrayal of a marriage unraveling, and it had its fair share of romantic scenes.
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And she's become a top-tier actor.
Zendaya credits her ability to transition "gracefully" from a young Disney star to an award-winning Hollywood actor to her self-confidence. "I had a very good sense of self, and I think I also took a lot of lessons just from being in the industry for so long," Zendaya told Vogue Australia. She eventually transitioned into producing as well.
During a June Variety Actors on Actors interview, Zendaya told MJ Rodriguez, "I had just been doing Disney Channel for so long. I started when I was 13 years old. By the time I was 17, I had a better understanding and focus of what I wanted. A lot of times in this industry, it's about recognizing your power and not selling yourself short." She went on to say, "It's kind of like that corny thing of know your worth. It's knowing what you can bring to the table. And I knew that I had more to offer in a more professional capacity. I wanted the title of a producer when I was younger because I wanted to learn what it was like to do all that stuff behind the scenes."