Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman, simply known as Zendaya, made history Sunday night for being the youngest lead actress Emmy winner at just 24 years old for her role in HBO’s popular show “Euphoria.”
Coleman took home the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. This win was notable because of Coleman’s age, but also because she was only the second Black woman to win this honor since the category was created in 1954.
Viola Davis was the first Black woman to win in 2015 for her role as Annalise Keating in ABC’s “How to “How to Get Away with Murder,” according to Harpers Bazaar.
Coleman’s win was “no mean feat given her heavyweight competition,” BBC reported. Also competing in the category was: Sandra Oh, Laura Linney, Jennifer Aniston, Olivia Colman and Jodie Comer, who previously won in 2019.
“This is pretty crazy,” Coleman said in her acceptance speech, according to the Emmys, after she received the award in her living room surrounded by her team.
Although “Schitt’s Creek” accumulated a majority of the awards at the show, Coleman’s win for her role as Rue Bennett marked a milestone in the actress’ career, as she was able to win with this also being her first ever Emmy nomination.
The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards premiered on Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. EDT and was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. The night featured wins awarded to several actors and actresses such as Catherine O’ Hara from “Schitt’s Creek,” and Eddie Murphy for “Saturday Night Live.”
Coleman spent some of her speech to express her appreciation to the people she worked with on “Euphoria” and to uplift the youth.
“I just want to say that there is hope in the young people out there,” she said. She also said she admired her peers for protesting racial injustice.
“Euphoria” premiered in 2019 and its first season had eight episodes. The show is about how some high school students “navigate love and friendships in a world of drugs, sex, trauma, and social media,” HBO said. Coleman plays the lead role.
“Zendaya throws herself so wholly into it that Rue feels real enough that she might as well be banging down the fourth wall,” Variety said.
The show was renewed for a second season, but it is unclear when it will premiere. However, filming was said to start sometime early in 2021, IndieWire said.
In an interview she did with Extra after the Emmys, Coleman brought up that the main goal of the show was for the audience to appreciate the storytelling and most importantly, to “empathize with human beings,” she said.
“Rue was a full complicated human being with layers and she makes mistakes and she does the wrong thing, but she’s young and trying to figure it out,” she said, “the fact that we’re able to have empathy for her is so huge,” she finished.
Coleman was known for her singing, acting, modeling, and dancing that helped her land a spot as Rocky Blue on Disney’s “Shake It Up.” Coleman also competed on the 16th season of “Dancing with the Stars,” where she was the runner up. She returned to Disney to star in “K.C. Undercover” in 2015.
Coleman is from California and has done movies including, “The Greatest Showman” and “Dune,” a movie set to be released later this year.
Celebrities and fans have been showing support and giving congratulations to Coleman for her big win. “Zendaya transitioned from disney arguably better than any other ex act,” @ItsZaeOk said on Twitter.
Other notable posts were from Megan Thee Stallion, Drake, and Demi Lovato, who has struggled with drug addiction in the past.
As a mixed-race woman, her father being African American and her mother being of German and Scottish ancestry, Coleman has acknowledged that she is the industry’s “acceptable version of a black girl,” she said at Beautycon in 2018, according to Teen Vogue. This made her realize that she had privilege, but she vowed to use her voice to empower those in the African American community.
“We’re vastly too beautiful and too interesting for me to be the only representation of that,” she said.