Gen Z has been closely connected to Zendaya’s career as it’s progressed over the years. We grew up on her Disney channel shows and never stopped our support, even when she left the network for more serious roles that displayed her acting range like Spider-Man: Far from Home, The Greatest Showman, and her most recent released work: “Euphoria,” which has earned her a long-awaited Emmy nod. Zendaya is nominated in the category of “Outstanding Lead Actress in Drama.”
“Euphoria” is a U.K. show rebooted in the U.S. Personally, I watched the show and had my whole “Euphoria” phase the summer it came out, but since quarantine, many people have been discovering the show for the first time and making it a trending topic. From diversity to character complexity, to acting and god-like looks, the show is amazing and so is the cast. Truly, no one character is the main one, but looking at technicalities it is Zendaya’s character, 17-year-old Rue Bennett.
In honor of her 24th birthday (Sept. 1st), here are some scenes from “Euphoria” that I think have earned Zendaya the Emmy.
Rue’s meltdown after her and Jules’s first fight
Jules Vaughn is another important and recurring character (played by Hunter Schafer) Who is a love interest/friend to Rue. After the two’s first argument, Rue (a recovering drug addict) found herself back at the home of Jules and apologized. This scene was performed so realistically and excellently by Zendaya that it was chilling. With only a few flustered words she was able to present to the audience a different side of her character that we hadn’t seen before. There was vulnerability and nervous fidgeting–many of the same characteristics that I go through when I’m nervous.
Rue demanded drugs from Fez
One of the hardest parts of the show is watching Rue struggle with addiction and relapsing time and time again. One specific time that it happened, right before Rue hit rock bottom, she went to her friend/dealer’s house looking for drugs. He told her “No” and then from this I believe we got the most powerful scene in the show from Zendaya. She screamed and pleaded, cried and cursed; it was heartbreaking to watch. I think this scene showed us just how reliant addicts are to their addictions.
Rue and Lexi played detectives
Rue was diagnosed with a colorful list of mental illnesses when she was young, one of them being bipolar disorder. Jules met a boy she had been talking to online and something went wrong. In a manic episode, Rue took it upon herself to figure out what happened. A fast-paced, humorous scene where Lexi and Rue played detectives displayed what a manic attempt might look like without playing into negative stereotypes. The scene let us see Zendaya in a different type of trope.
Rue explained why she takes drugs
In the first few minutes of the show, it’s implied that Rue is an addict, and it’s explained to us later in the pilot why she takes drugs. The intoxicating scene is one example of where all the “Euphoria” photoshoots have come from since the show’s release. For a long while Rue does nothing but stare into space, but in some way, with her tragic words in the background, she is able to fill her eyes with so much emotion. Without even speaking, or talking Zendaya radiated talent.
As you might be able to tell, I love Zendaya and having grown up with her, I might be a little biased. But nonetheless, I still believe she has worked her way through the ranks of Hollywood and deserves this Emmy for her dedication. Tune in to the ABC network to watch the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 20th to see if she takes home the award.
By Kendal Amos, Sophomore, Little Black Pearl