Zendaya Says Her Fans ‘Still Haven’t Forgiven’ Her for Their Name: ‘I Thought It Was Cool at the Time’

Once a Disney darling not too long ago, Zendaya has transformed. No longer a “Disney Kid,” the 25-year-old accomplished actor has become a confident young woman—and she’s killing it in serious roles in films and on television.

As her career has evolved, her style has changed as well. One of her latest looks that shows just how much she’s changed was a sexy halter top made from chains, by Vivienne Westwood.

Zendaya smiling in front of a black background
Zendaya | Lia Toby/Getty Images

But before she turned into a chic fashionista, Zendaya was like any teen and had one awkward moment that she recently spoke about to British Vogue.

‘I thought it was cool at the time’

In a video interview with British Vogue, Zendaya spoke about when she came up with a name for her fans. “I thought it was cool at the time,” she says. When Zendaya tells the story, she laughs and says her fans still haven’t forgiven her for their name. So what was the awkward name? Z-swaggers.

Zendaya explains how it happened—she posted a caption on September 22nd, 2011, for her first Instagram post ever. It was a photo of her smiling with Davis Cleveland, who played her BFF’s little brother, Flynn Jones on Disney Channel’s Shake It Up. (Zendaya’s co-star on the show was CeCe Jones, played by Bella Thorne.)

“My mom took that picture of us after one of our live tapings,” she says in the video interview, “and it got 64 thousand likes.”  

The Instagram caption of the photo of her and Davis said: D-dogg and Z-swag. The funny caption was just like when any teenager blurts out a word without giving it too much thought. But since Zendaya’s loyal fans remember every word she has ever uttered, there’s no escaping the memory;

“My fans still haven’t forgiven me for the fact that somehow they became named the Z-swaggers … we don’t really have a name as a fandom.”

Laughing about it, Zendaya explains that she didn’t know any better. “It didn’t age well. But that’s ok.”  

Zendaya’s fandom doesn’t have an official name

Zendaya says she doesn’t often use the word swag anymore. “I’ve done some growing, you know. I don’t use swag as often in my vocabulary, which I am grateful for,” she said, laughing again.

Zendaya’s fandom doesn’t really have a name—Z-swag never really stuck. “Have we brainstormed some new ideas?” asks Zendaya in the interview.   

Apparently, there’s no new fandom name yet, but Zendaya is open to new suggestions. She says, “You guys let me know.”

Zendaya is slaying her career and fashion 

It’s been eleven years since Zendaya first rose to fame as Rocky Blue on Disney’s hit series Shake It Up. She was on the series when she was 14 years old. Now that she’s grown, the “adult” roles that are keeping her busy include kissing Spider-Man—both as MJ in the Marvel films and as Tom Holland’s rumored girlfriend IRL.

Critics praised Zendaya’s portrayal of Rue in HBO’s Euphoria, and in 2020 she made history as the youngest to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress for the role, the NY Times reported. (And she said she was speechless when she was nominated.)

Fans wanted to copy the show’s statement-making makeup. Rue’s eye glitter always made headlines, a look created by Euphoria’s head makeup artist Donielle Davy, Allure reports.

Cast as Marie in the Netflix film Malcolm & Marie, critics had mixed feelings about the storyline—but the chic dresses Zendaya wore scored rave reviews.

Zendaya’s stylist, Law Roach, recruited Jason Rembert to make a custom metallic Lurex “Zee” dress with sexy cutouts, Harper’s Bazaar reports. The luxury brand Aliétte sold a limited number of replicas.

On November 10th, 2021, Zendaya will receive the CFDA Fashion Icon Award. At 25 years old, she will be the youngest person to receive this honor from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Vogue reports.  

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