Zendaya Maree Coleman, better known by the mononym Zendaya (born September 1, 1996) is an American actress, singer, and dancer. She has been acting since age six and played Rocky Blue in Disney Channel's Shake It Up. Zendaya is of Arican-American, Irish, German, and English descent.
Zendaya, whose name means "to give thanks" in Shona, was born on September 1, 1996, in Oakland, California. She grew up as part of the California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda, California where her mother worked as the House Manager. In addition to training at the theater's student conservatory program, and later performing in numerous stage productions, Zendaya helped her mother seat patrons and sell raffle tickets to benefit the theater
While attending the Oakland School for the Arts, she starred as a young Ti Moune in Once on This Island at the Berkley Playhouse and in the breakout role of the male character Joe in Caroline, or Change at Palo Alto's TheaterWorks. She also studied her craft at the CalShakes Conservatory program and at the American Conservatory Theater. Her other stage credits include Richard III, Twelfth Night, and As You Like It, among others.
Zendaya began her professional career working as a fashion model for Macy's, Mervyns and Old Navy. She was featured in an iCarly toys ad along with Stefanie Scott. She also appeared as a back-up dancer in a Sears commercial featuring Disney Channel star Selena Gomez; in 2009, she was a featured performer in the Kidz Bop music video for its cover of the song Hot N' Cold. Zendaya currently stars on the Disney Channel original series Shake It Up! as Rocky Blue alongside Bella Thorne as CeCe Jones, the comedic duo trying to dance their way to stardom. In early 2011, it was announced that her first movie role would be in the 2012 film, "Frenemies" along with "Shake It Up!" co-star, Bella Thorne and Stefanie Scott from A.N.T. Farm. She additionally starred in the book trailer for "From Bad To Cursed" by Katie Alender, which was released via YouTube on June 13, 2011. The book is the second in Alender's "Bad Girls Don't Die" series.
Zendaya currently lives in Los Angeles with her family and dog, a Giant Schnauzer named Midnight. Her interests include singing, dancing and designing clothes. Zendaya hopes that just as theater led her to television, Shake It Up! will someday lead her to opportunities in the music industry. In October 2010, Zendaya told Variety, "I love singing and would love to record an album at some point."
Zendaya has released a number of songs under Hollywood Records and Walt Disney Records, as well as independent releases. Zendaya's first single was a song called Swag It Out, available for download on iTunes and Amazon for $0.99. The official music video for the song has only had a preview release on YouTube. Zendaya and Bella Thorne have a music video for the song Watch Me, which premiered on Disney Channel on June 17, 2011 during the A.N.T. Farm premiere and just as a commercial. She has been in a Kidz Bop music video for Katy Perry's "Hot N' Cold". Zendaya announced that she wants to 'release more singles' and 'make an album in the near future'. Zendaya is currently signed to Hollywood Records and is working on recording songs for her first album.