‘Euphoria’: Why Zendaya Feels She Has A Lot To Prove

Tonight, Zendaya Coleman will be diving full force into her first truly adult role. The former K.C. Undercover star has, of course, had a few grown-up roles since she completed her tenure at Disney last year. But, playing Rue on the new HBO series, Euphoria is a complete departure from everything we’ve seen from Coleman thus far.

Zendaya Coleman
Zendaya Coleman | Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO

New HBO show

In the new series, the 22-year-old plays the lead role of 17-year-old Rue. Fresh from rehab with zero intentions of staying clean, Rue meets new girl, Jules, and finds herself in a world of chaos. True to HBO’s nature, the show deals with some very heavy themes like addiction and rape culture. Euphoria is also unafraid to depict teenagers engaging in sexual acts and doing drugs.


Though the show is highly-anticipated, there are already some people who are uncomfortable with the premise and have argued that HBO is normalizing extreme teenage behavior. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Coleman admits that she was expecting a mixed response with how the show would be received and she’s made her peace with it. The Greatest Showman actress confesses that though she has not experienced many of the things her character struggles with firsthand, she has watched her peers struggle with similar issues and she feels it’s important to tell their stories.

“I kind of accepted the fact that it would be polarizing. I found a little calm in that. Whether people like it or not, it’s real. I’m telling somebody’s story. Just because it’s not happening to you doesn’t mean it’s not happening all the time, every day. It’s hard for me to speak on addiction because it’s not something I have dealt with directly. But I still had friends who were dealing with things, and I had to help them through it’ the Spiderman: Far From Home actress admitted.

Age appropriate

But, with such heavy themes, many people are questioning whether the actress can pull off the polarizing role. Though she is undoubtedly very talented, most of her supporters have only seen her occupy roles that were slightly more juvenile and less serious. Coleman admits that she can understand why people have concerns and she looks forward to exploring more of her artistic range throughout the new series.

“It’s like going from nothing to everything — there were no steps in between. That’s why people think it’s such a stretch for me to play this character. There’s a lot of people who probably think I can’t do it because they don’t truly understand my personality. And I get it: I’m a Disney kid. There’s a lot to prove” the former Disney darling explained.

Series premiere

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We’re happy to see Coleman branch out and take her artistry in an exciting, new, direction. This role will certainly change the trajectory of her career and hopefully unlock new acting opportunities for her. We can’t wait to see what she brings to the new role. Catch the series premiere of Euphoria tonight at 10 PM EST on HBO.