Emmy Winner Zendaya Brings Elle Into 2021

Fashion

Bless Elle for offering up so many photos of Zendaya on this grim pandemic Friday. I imagine the PR team having a lively discussion about which three to let represent the shoot, involving Rock, Paper, Scissors, and then a dartboard, and then finally consulting a ouija board whose spirits spelled out, “JUST SEND ALL OF THEM. THE PEOPLE NEED ZENDAYA.” Stylist Law Roach has also delivered on that front, via Instagram, including this video of her working the cover dress:

Timothee Chalamet, her Dune co-star, does the Q&A, and his part is hit-or-miss — he’s not very insightful with follow-ups (at one point he’s like, “You just talked to Michelle Obama,” and she’s like, “Yeah,” and he immediately changes the subject?), but luckily, SHE is very good at answering questions and so she gives him stuff like this:

What else brings you hope these days?

I find hope in my peers, the people who are out there on the streets doing the work—people I admire and I go to for advice and information on what’s happening, so that I can make sure I’m using my platform in the most strategic way I can to help. 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! 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.

A couple of the photos in the slideshow were also in cover contention — there might even BE a second cover, per Law? — so I’m eager to hear if you would have picked the same one Elle did. I will say that the LAST photo in this gallery is one of my favorites EVER. One thing is for sure: If any young celebrity is going to take my hand and pull me out of the morass of 2020 and into whatever 2021 holds, I’d pick Zendaya to do it.

[Photographed by Micaiah Carter for the Elle December 2020/January 2021 issue]