For Instyle Magazine‘s September issue, cover star, Zendaya is interviewed by Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors.
The Euphoria actress was styled by Law Roach and looked her best in a slew of black-owned brands. Among her best looks for the cover feature, she stunned in two outfits by African designers.
Lensed by African American photography duo Ahmad Barber and Donté Maurice (AB+DM), she struck a pose wearing a pleated backless dress from Hanifa‘s Pink Congo collection. The multi-colored mini dress was styled with black Tori Soudan boots.
Next, she lounged in shredded denim set from Thebe Magugu‘s AW20’s “Anthro 1” collection
Here are excerpts from her interview with Patrisse Cullors.
PC: We have to talk fashion next because you wore some incredible pieces for this cover shoot. You also had an all-Black team around you. Was that the first time you ever experienced that?
Z: I’ve always had a Black stylist and Black hair and makeup artists. But we were able to work with two talented young Black photographers on this shoot too. We’re actually around the same age, so it was cool to be with my peers and have an opportunity to show what we can do. There are also so many Black designers people don’t know about, so having an opportunity where they can be in InStyle and get the love they deserve is really special. I hope people are like, “Oh, I like that dress!” And then go support them.
PC: I want to ask you about your activism. What do you want to say to the young people who look up to you around this moment of Black Lives Matter? What feels important for you to share with them?
Z: I have always hesitated to use the word “activist” for myself. That is a lifestyle. That is a choice every day to be doing the work and devoting your life to a cause. And I don’t feel I am deserving of the title. There are a lot of words that better describe what I do. I’m an actress, but I’m also just a person who has a heart and wants to do the right thing. I care about human beings, so this time is very hard to talk about. It’s painful. I remember when I was with my dad in Atlanta shooting the first Spider-Man movie, and it was around the time that the murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling happened. I was extremely emotional, and I remember thinking about my dad, who was out picking up food at the time. And I started worrying and calling him like, “Are you OK?” I didn’t want him to go out and do anything. But my dad is a 65-year-old Black man. He’s been on this planet a long time, so he knows what he knows. But I still had that fear, and that scared me.
PC: You’ve always been honest about sharing how you feel, and how you have been present around these moments has really mattered to your fans. When I took over your Instagram, it was incredible to watch people interact and ask questions. That felt hopeful for me because there are so many new voices and new connections being made, and we need that right now.
Z: For me, it’s important not to entirely give up hope and faith in humanity. A lot of young people feel like the system has never worked for them, so why should they even bother? If there is anything positive that has come out of this time, it’s that I feel a little bit of hope too. There are changes happening. I’m so inspired by my peers and their commitment. My niece is going into high school, and when I see her Instagram posts and the things she’s talking about, it’s really special. She is only 15, and we can have a dialogue about what’s happening. So clearly there is hope in the youth. That makes me want to keep going. And more than anything, I just want to tell people that your voice does matter. The little things do matter. And continue to use your emotions. They are sometimes considered a weakness, but in this time they are very powerful.
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