Zendaya opens up about the impact being a child star had on her

Zendaya has some thoughts on her time on Disney Channel. In a new interview with Vogue , the "Dune" actor talked about her expectations as a child star, especially when she became the "breadwinner" of her family.

As part of the article, she spoke with Serena Williams via Zoom, and the tennis star asked her if she had a career backup plan if the show didn't work out.

"I don't know how many choices I had," Zendaya responded, explaining that she had "mixed feelings" about being a child star. "We've seen a lot of harmful cases," she said. "It's only now, as an adult, that I'm starting to say, oh, okay, wait a minute: I've only ever done what I know, and that's all I know."

She went on to explain that she is now "going through an angsty teenage phase" because she has to grow up as quickly as possible.

"I felt like I was thrust into a very adult situation: I became the breadwinner of the family early on, and there was a lot of role reversal," said Zendaya, 27. She added, She felt pressure "to be everything that everyone needed me to be and to live up to all those expectations."

Zendaya attended the premiere of "Contenders" in Rome in April 2024. Vittorio Zunino Cerlotto/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Zendaya began performing at the age of 14 on Disney Channel's "Shake It Up!" And developed an indissoluble bond with the web through the Spider-Man movies. She eventually transitioned into more mature roles, winning two Emmys for "Euphoria , " but she says her experience as a child star made it difficult to enjoy those wins.

“Now, when I have these moments in my career — like, the first time I’m starring in a movie that’s actually going to be in theaters — I feel like I’m holding back and I’m not able to enjoy everything that’s happening to me thing," she told Williams, referring to her new movie "Contenders." "I was very nervous and I think I carried that feeling with me as a kid and never really had the chance to try it. I wish I could have gone to school."

These emotions also affect the way she treats her fans. "I always feel like when someone asks for a photo, I have to do it all the time... because you need to be grateful that you're here," she said. "While I still feel that way, I also know that I can say no, I can kindly say that I have the day off, or that I just want to be myself today."