$400,000 Paycheck Was Not Enough, Zendaya Refused to Work With Disney Unless Studio Met Her Long List of Bizarre Demands

$400,000 Paycheck Was Not Enough, Zendaya Refused to Work With Disney Unless Studio Met Her Long List of Bizarre Demands
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Zendaya is currently one of the most prominent stars in Hollywood. She started very young in the industry and her first significant breakthrough came when she landed the lead role of Rocky Blue in the Disney Channel series Shake It Up in 2010 when she was just 14 years of age. She was instantly a fan favorite, though, despite her early success, she didn’t rest on her laurels. She set her sights higher thus when Disney approached her the second time for K.C. Undercover, she made sure people knew her worth.

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In a 2017 Vogue interview, the star revealed her desire for her character in the Disney show to be not only inspiring for others but also for herself. She expressed her intention to avoid the stereotypical traits often associated with Disney characters, aiming to create a more unique and empowering portrayal, that also brings in many new paths for the actress to explore. Therefore, at just 16 years of age, Zendaya had a long list of demands for Disney to be met, in order to book her for the job.

Zendaya, American actress
Zendaya, American actress

Also Read: “If you feel it, it’s probably happening”: Zendaya Shared Heartbreaking Tale of Being Cheated on by Ex-partner Before She Started Dating Marvel Co-star Tom Holland

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Zendaya Had a Long List of Demands Ready For Disney

Before signing the contracts for K.C. Undercover, Zendaya presented an extensive list of demands to Disney that many kids did not dare to do at her age. These included changing the show’s title and demanding to be a producer for the show, all at the young age of 16. Her bold actions not only had a great impact on the industry but also helped reshape the landscape in her own unique way.

Zendaya in K.C. Undercover
Zendaya in K.C. Undercover

In addition to her other demands, she also aimed for her character to deviate from the typical Disney mold. Furthermore, she also insisted on featuring a family of color in the series. In the 2017 Vogue interview, she said,

“I wanted to make sure that she wasn’t good at singing or acting or dancing,—That she wasn’t artistically inclined. I didn’t want them to all of a sudden be like, ‘Oh, yeah, and then she sings this episode!’ No. She can’t dance; she can’t sing. She can’t do that stuff. There are other things that a girl can be.”

The cast of K.C. Undercover
K.C. UNDERCOVER

She then further continued saying,

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“I want her to be martial arts–trained. I want her to be able to do everything that a guy can do,–I want her to be just as smart as everybody else. I want her to be a brainiac. I want her to be able to think on her feet. But I also want her to be socially awkward, not a cool kid. I want her to be normal with an extraordinary life.”

Although she reportedly ended up receiving $400,000 per season, the changes she made were integral to the story as well as to the industry. And as people know, the show ended up becoming a super hit, all thanks to the brilliant mind of Zendaya.

Also Read: Zendaya’s Stylist Trashes Rumors of Being Forced to Resign by the ‘Euphoria’ Star, After Clip of her Humiliating him in Public Went Viral

Zendaya Is the Youngest Producer Nominee in Emmy History

Zendaya has indeed come a long way since then. Transitioning from her Disney Channel roots to becoming an A-lister, she is now successfully dominating Hollywood. She has also made history as the youngest individual to receive two lead acting nominations. Additionally, she has also garnered attention as the youngest woman ever nominated for producing at the Emmy Awards for her hit HBO show Euphoria. 

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Zendaya as Rue Bennett in Euphoria
Zendaya as Rue Bennett in Euphoria

Following the conclusion of her very successful aforementioned Disney series, K.C. Undercover, she found herself in search of her next project, but nothing seemed to catch her until Euphoria came along. She said,

“I had a lot of fears, prior to even knowing that this script existed, about what I was gonna do next, what I should do next, and what I was looking for,–I had all of these ideas in my head about what the next move should be, and there was nothing that I felt like I was connecting with. I was starting to stress and bug out because I just didn’t have anything, and nothing was connecting with me.”

Zendaya
Zendaya

People are now glad she took the plunge and ended up working in the HBO show. As her passion for both acting and producing has now materialized into something her fans all over the world are going to cherish forever.

Also Read: “Some people would be very against that”: Tom Holland’s Habit Made Directors ‘Scared,’ Often Led to Trust Issues Before He Joined MCU

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Source: Vogue

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Written by Sampurna Banerjee

Articles Published: 882

Sampurna Banerjee, an ardent enthusiast of pop culture and movies, pours her passion into her role as a writer for FandomWire. With a penchant for Marvel, DC, and sitcoms, she has contributed over 400 articles, staying up-to-date to the entertainment industry's latest buzz. Moreover, she's penned over 300 articles for Animated Times and shared her work across several Instagram pages. Currently she is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Calcutta University.