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Zendaya reveals the creative way she stays motivated during the pandemic

The Emmy winner opens up about life in lockdown and her own Hollywood history in chat with fellow actor Carey Mulligan.
Zendaya Sydney Portrait Shoot
Zendaya talks the pandemic, her new movie and her start as a Disney star in a chat with "Promising Young Woman" star Carey Mulligan.Christian Gilles / Newspix via Getty Images
/ Source: TMRW

It’s easy to let routines slide and fall off the priority list while navigating life in a pandemic, but one star revealed how she's kept motivated.

Zendaya opened up about her unusual methods to fellow actor Carey Mulligan in a new interview for Variety.

"I literally, while I was in quarantine, I would do this thing to keep me motivated,” the 24-year said. “I live with my assistant, who’s also like a brother to me. I told him, ‘I’ll do some physical activity — I think it’s good for me.’ I have a whole bunch of wigs, from many years of being on red carpets, and I would put on a different wig and be a different character every day and put on this performance for him for like an hour every day."

While most people probably lack a closet full of wigs, the sentiment of channeling a different persona and practicing your craft is a solid one for anyone to follow. And it proved to be just what Zendaya needed to tide her over until another project came her way.

“Being in lockdown, I was definitely itching to do what I love because I hadn’t been able to do it for so long,” the “Euphoria” star said, referring to acting.

And she found it in the film “Malcolm & Marie,” which is set to premiere on Netflix next month.

"Malcolm & Marie" premieres on Netflix Feb. 5.DOMINIC MILLER / NETFLIX

In the relationship drama, in which she stars alongside John David Washington, she plays a woman fearlessly finding her voice and challenging her partner about their unspoken woes. It’s a far departure from the Disney Channel role that made Zendaya a breakout star on “Shake It Up” a decade ago.

And when Mulligan asked, “You surely can’t think of yourself as a Disney kid now,” Zendaya responded, “The thing is, I am.”

She added, "And to a degree, I am grateful for that. That’s where I started, and I learned so much from that experience. It’s just kind of been this slow progression, and I am happy that it’s all been to prove it to myself and not to anybody else, you know? I embrace it a little bit. It’s part of my heritage to a degree."

The fact that Variety published the actors' chat is significant since just last month, Mulligan called out the publication for a reductive and seemingly sexist review of her film “Promising Young Woman.”

“I read the Variety review, because I’m a weak person,” Mulligan told the New York Times. “And I took issue with it. It felt like it was basically saying that I wasn’t hot enough to pull off this kind of ruse.”

Zendaya asked her about the controversy during their sit down, and noted that Variety apologized for the review that questioned her ability to play the character based on her physical look.

“I didn’t know what the reaction would be to my sort of saying that,” Mulligan told her. “Sort of nerve-racking to rock the boat with a big publication. But at the same time it feels like, you’ve got to stand up for these things. Otherwise, it continues and then you’re essentially part of it. So I was really sort of surprised and thrilled and happy to have received an apology.”