Zendaya’s Disney Show Could’ve Been Very Different If She Hadn’t Spoken Up And Made Change Happen

"A lot of people don’t realize their power."

Fans of K.C. Undercover could have gotten a whole different show than the one they've come to know and love — and that's all thanks to its star, Zendaya. The starlet opened up about helping convince Disney Channel execs, at just 16 mind you, that the show needed to go in a completely different direction than they'd originally intended.

Already with Shake It Up under her belt, Zendaya met with the suits in 2013 to make a list of demands they would have to meet to ensure she would join the project. First was to make her a producer. Second was to change the "whack" title of Super Awesome Katy. Third was to give the character a new name because, as she reasoned, "Do I look like a Katy to you?" And finally, the biggest change was to help craft the central character herself.


"I wanted to make sure that she wasn't good at singing or acting or dancing. That she wasn't artistically inclined. I didn't want them to all of a sudden be like, 'Oh, yeah, and then she sings this episode!' No. She can't dance; she can't sing. She can't do that stuff," Zendaya told Vogue in the July cover story. "There are other things that a girl can be."

That's how they settled on making K.C. Cooper into the strong female character — the math genius who just so happens to have a black belt in karate, too — which has garnered many fans, and is about to embark on what could be the third and final season.

"I want her to be martial arts–trained. I want her to be able to do everything that a guy can do. I want her to be just as smart as everybody else. I want her to be a brainiac. I want her to be able to think on her feet," the 20-year-old upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming star added. "But I also want her to be socially awkward, not a cool kid. I want her to be normal with an extraordinary life."

While this might seem like a gutsy move to some, Zendaya brushes it off as just being a moment in her career when she realized her own power and took control of the future she wanted for herself. "A lot of people don't realize their power," Zendaya continued. 

Throughout everything she's been through so far, Zendaya also acknowledged that it has been a big lesson learned for herself to just be Zendaya — having already tried out a Disney-girl persona. "Slowly I realized that was stupid," the up-and-coming multihyphenate said. "People think I'm cool when I'm Zendaya."


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