Zendaya Tells Timothée Chalamet She’s ‘Schooling’ Her Nieces So They Can Change the World

Zendaya tells her Dune co-star Timothée Chalamet for the December 2020 cover of Elle about the hope and joy younger generations have given her this year.

When Zendaya became the youngest-ever actress to win the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a drama series at age 24, she addressed her peers in her acceptance speech. “I just want to say that there is hope in the young people out there,” she said during the awards show in September. “I know that our TV show doesn’t always feel like a great example of that, but there is hope in the young people. And I just want to say to all my peers out there doing the work in the streets, I see you, I admire you, I thank you.”

But in a cover story published online Tuesday (Nov. 10), she doesn’t think the term “young people” stops with her peers — it goes even younger.

“There is so much hope in young people, and when I say young people, I do mean myself — people my own age — but I also mean younger. These really young kids are so smart and have such a clear understanding and plan for how they want this world to change. Even my little nieces!” she tells Chalamet, who interviewed her over the phone in France. “They are so aware, and I mean, I can take credit for some of that, because I’ve been schooling them. But they also have their own point of view. We have discussions about [the world]. They know what’s up, and they want to be part of that change.”

She said she also experiences joy when she connects deeply to her creative projects, like her quarantine film Malcolm & Marie written and directed by Euphoria creator Sam Levinson. Zendaya is also gearing up for a couplet of special Euphoria episodes that will bridge the gap between seasons. The first will air on Dec. 6.

“We’re doing a little Christmas special to check in with everybody on Euphoria, until we can get back to [the full production], which probably won’t happen until after I get back from filming the next Spider-Man movie, which is pretty soon,” she said.

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