Exclusive: We talked to Zendaya about her birthday wish, philanthropy and her new collab with Barbie

Yep, you heard that right. Super star Zendaya is partnering up with Barbie to host the Barbie Rock 'n Royals Concert Experience on September 26th. She'll be taking the stage at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, CA to help Barbie introduce her new music from the Rock 'n Royals DVD, raise money for VH1 Save The Music and encourage girls all over to raise their voices.

We chatted with Z about the big night and everything else she's got going on. Check it out.

GL: What made you decide to team up with Barbie?

Zendaya: I think that it was definitely a big decision for me because when I was little I didn’t really have a Barbie that looked like me. Now, I’ve gotten a sneak peek inside the Mattel offices and I've seen what Barbie is headed towards and how they're diversifying and really, I think, becoming the new Barbie. They're showcasing more than one form of beauty, honestly, so I’m really excited to see that. For me, at least, I feel like it’s important that there are different races of Barbie, and when it comes down to skin color and hair textures, facial features, I saw a change in that. And what’s really cool is that they're not just Barbie’s friend or Barbie’s cousin, but they’re all Barbie!

GL: That's awesome! So what makes you excited to host the Rock 'n Royals Concert Experience?

Zendaya: Arts education is obviously very important to me and is probably the main reason why I’m even doing what I do today, so I’ve always thought it’s a really important thing for self-expression in a young person. I went to a performing arts school growing up. I definitely needed an outlet and a place to go. Your time and energy can be wasted on so many other things, usually negative things, especially when you’re young, so I’m very lucky for that. I think that it’s a really important thing to keep spreading.

GL: How did you first hear about the VH1 Save the Music program?

Zendaya: Through the Rock 'n Royal Concert Experience, honestly. I had heard about it before, but this is my first time being able to see how it goes and be part of the work, you know?


GL: This concert is all about encouraging girls to raise their voice. Is there anything you're excited for them to raise their voice for?

Zendaya: I think confidence is so important. In order to raise your voice, you have to know that you have one! You have to be mature and understand yourself and be very happy with yourself, and I think that that definitely is a message I always try to convey in everything I do.

GL: How can girls find causes they're interested in?

Zendaya: We have a beautiful thing called the Internet, and there are a lot of verified, interest-worthy sites that help. They have a lot of really great things that are easy to be a part of. Sometimes, you know, there are small things that you can do on your own! Everyone has a local animal shelter or Goodwill. It’s the little things like collecting items for donation, or having a bake sale and donating the money to the local, whatever. So it can be those small steps too.

GL: For your birthday you asked that people donate a few bucks to help you support a family in Africa that had lost their parents to AIDS. What other causes are important to you?

Zendaya: My birthday wish is my main focus right now. Continuing to do things like that is one of the reasons why I want to be in this industry. I think charities are so important and can be really glazed over and not paid attention to, so it’s really cool that I can be able to use my birthday to get people to look harder and see. You have to have a reason for why you want to keep going, and I think this, charity work, is definitely my priority.

Check out Barbie Rock 'n Royals and get your tickets to the Concert Experience HERE.

What do you raise your voice for? How has Zendaya inspired you?

Photos credit: Zendaya, Mattel


by Chelsea Duff | 2/1/2016