Zendaya admits pandemic was ‘first time’ discovering identity outside of work

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The ‘Euphoria’ actress says she got a chance to reflect on herself outside of her job for the first time

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Monday, GQ kicked off the week by announcing Euphoria lead Zendaya as the muse for their February cover, and in the insightful accompanying interview the 24-year-old opens up about how she dealt with lockdown during the pandemic.

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“It was the first time since I was 13 that I didn’t go back to something,” Zendaya says, her head resting in her hands. “There was no structure.”

Zendaya GQ pandemic thegrio.com
Zendaya attends the 2020 AAA Arts Awards at Skylight Modern on January 30, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

“It was my first time just being like, ‘Okay, who am I without this?’ ” she explains. “Which is a very scary thing to confront and work through, because I don’t really know Zendaya outside of the Zendaya who works. I didn’t realize how much my job and my art were a part of my identity as a human.”

The 24-year-old Emmy winner also revealed that during the first few months of quarantine she made a habit of calling up Euphoria creator Sam Levinson “to shoot the sh*t” and they would speak for hours venting about the world or “what was in our hearts at the time or whatever.”

“It’s like, ‘Well, what happened today?’ ‘Well, I woke up, and that’s it. I’ve pretty much been in bed all day,’ ” she recalled.

Eventually, those soul-baring discussions ended up being the impetus for Levinson to write the script for Malcolm & Marie, a movie starring Zendaya and John David Washington, which GQ describes as, “a stunning black-and-white film about a beautiful couple trapped in a beautiful home as they attempt to exorcise their relationship’s demons.”

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“Zendaya is such a formidable force as a person and an actor, that it was really difficult to imagine who could go twelve rounds with her,” Levinson explained to the publication in an email. “She could snap most actors like a twig.”

Malcolm & Marie comes out Feb. 5 on Netflix.

Watch the trailer below:

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