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Zendaya's Empowering, Makeup-Positive Outlook Is Just the Best

"I don't think that some guy is going to notice how popping my highlight is. I know my highlight is popping."
Perfect eyebrow haver and well of makeup-positive wisdom Zendaya. Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

Perfect eyebrow haver and well of makeup-positive wisdom Zendaya. Photo: David Becker/Getty Images

Zendaya is only 19 years old, but that hasn't stopped her from cultivating a wise and worldly outlook on the subject of beauty. The face of CoverGirl has become something of a style chameleon, regularly changing up her hair and makeup for red carpets and promotional tours alike. But part of what's so refreshing about the star's penchant for sartorial risk-taking is that it's all in the name of self-expression — and fun. Zendaya has been outspoken about her own hair and makeup choices, championing the idea that beauty isn't about pleasing anyone but yourself. We got the chance to hear more about her inspiring you-do-you philosophy in a recent interview.

You've been outspoken about the fact that you don't wear makeup for anyone but yourself. Do you think that's becoming a more prevailing philosophy?

I think makeup has really taken on a life of its own. It's just not about making yourself "prettier" or making yourself look "better." Honestly, it's an art form; it's fun. I enjoy the process of putting on makeup — to me, it's like a hobby. I think that's what it's become for a lot of people, and it's also become more accessible for everybody. It's not just for women. It's for men, too! It's for everybody. I wear my highlight for myself. I don't think that some guy is going to notice how popping my highlight is. I know my highlight is popping.

And do you think it's also sort of become a community? A way for people to bond?

Exactly. I wear it for myself because I feel fabulous. And it's also for my fellow makeup lovers. They come up to me and are like, "Girl, what did you use?" That's why we do it. It's fun. You start talking to your friends and you start talking to people who share that interest.

You're known for always changing up your look. Why is that experimentation something you're into?

For me, experimenting with your look is how you find your confidence. It's really helped me find myself. You don't know who you're going to be unless you try different things and open up your mind. When I started really trying to dress for myself or do my hair for myself — doing things strictly because they made me feel good — it was so empowering. So when I'm on a red carpet, it's not to impress anybody else but myself.

Did your mother pass down any beauty wisdom to you?

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My mom honestly never wore makeup. But I think that's the coolest part. I never was taught that I needed it; wearing makeup is something that's supposed to be fun and should be enhancing what you already have, not changing yourself. My mom never frowned upon makeup or anything, she just didn't use it. That was kind of cool. So I really learned about makeup and go into it on my own.

I have to ask because I'm obsessed with your eyebrows: What's your grooming routine like?

Oh, thank you! I just got them done yesterday, actually. When it comes to brows, leaving them alone is the best thing you can do. Get someone that you really trust, who's an eyebrow specialist. I only let one person touch them — her name is Kelly Baker. And then stay consistent, and don't overdo it. I'm very appreciative of my eyebrows.

What CoverGirl product are you most excited about right now?

Well, I'm the face of the Super Sizer Fibers mascara. I think mascara in general is so fun. I feel like it's the one thing that brightens up your face and makes everything look better. This one has the fibers in it, so it makes your lashes look super-long and luscious and amazing. That's definitely my go-to. They also have some really dope palettes coming out soon.

If you had one best makeup tip you've picked up on set, what would that be?

Just take your makeup off before you go to bed. That's so important. I'm telling you, you'll see changes in your skin and in your life. Everything will be better.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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