When your day job is playing a complex teenage drug addict on TV, then taking care of your mental health offscreen is essential. In her British Vogue cover story, published on Sept. 6, Zendaya opened up about her decision to go to therapy, especially after quarantine measures during the COVID-19 pandemic affected her mental health.
In the new interview, the 25-year-old Euphoria star explained that the pandemic gave her a “first kind of taste of sadness where you wake up and you just feel bad all day, like what the f**k is going on? What is this dark cloud that’s hovering over me and I don’t know how to get rid of it, you know?” This is one of the reasons why she decided to start seeing a therapist, which she strongly encourages to those who are able to access that resource.
“Yeah, of course I go to therapy,” she said. “I mean, if anybody is able to possess the financial means to go to therapy, I would recommend they do that. I think it’s a beautiful thing. You know, there’s nothing wrong with working on yourself and dealing with those things with someone who can help you, someone who can talk to you, who’s not your mom or whatever. Who has no bias.”
The Emmy winner said that in therapy she talks about her internal conflict between spending and saving money, and her need to always work without giving herself a break. “The hope is to have a career where you can be in a position, financially, to just do things you want to do because you enjoy the work and not have to worry about the other things,” she said. “But I’m always like, ‘I will always need to work.’ Because if I don’t work then everything can be gone tomorrow.”
This isn’t the first time that Zendaya has spoken about her mental health. Back in 2013, she revealed she dealt with anxiety after a mishap when her mic pack went out during a talk show performance. “I used to struggle with anxiety pretty bad,” she said. “It only happened when I sang live, not when I danced or did any other live performances, and it stemmed from a bad experience I had while singing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2013. It wasn’t my best performance and I’ve never let myself live that down.”
At the time, the Disney Channel alum dealt with her anxiety by focusing on other projects like acting. Now, with blockbuster epics Dune and Spider-Man: No Way Home coming soon, Zendaya now has her sights set on a new creative outlet: getting behind the camera. “I gotta hurry up and figure out how to f*cking become a director, man,” she said. “I’m trying, I’m learning every day, I really am. There’s so much I want to do.” And that includes helping to change the movie landscape with her casting choices. “If I ever do become a filmmaker, I know that the leads of my films will always be black women.”