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Zendaya Was Told She Should "Just Be Happy" To Land a Mag Cover as a Black Woman

Photo: Cosmopolitan

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Actress/singer/constant source of outfit inspiration Zendaya is only 19, but she's been completely fearless about calling out the uglier side of Hollywood and the fashion industry. She's speaking out now in the cover interview for her July Cosmopolitan issue about an eye-opening incident with a former publicist on a different magazine shoot:

"I didn't like my hair and makeup one time on a photo shoot, and my publicist told me, 'You should just be happy with it — they haven't had a black girl on the cover since forever.' She's no longer my publicist."

Wonder what cover that was? Although there've been some improvement lately in featuring more diverse cover stars, fashion magazine covers still overwhelmingly feature white models and stars. A quick Google scan reveals that Zendaya’s covered titles like Marie Claire, W, Hunger, Modeliste, Wonderland, New You, Girl’s Life, and Teen Vogue.

Either way, it's one more example of Zendaya's experiences — and her openness about them — lifting the veil on some of the unsavory aspects of the fashion system, from racism to unhealthy body standards.

When Modeliste manipulated images from Zendaya's photoshoot, the star took it on her part to Instagram the unretouched images as well as a heartfelt note. She said:

Had a new shoot come out today and was shocked when I found my 19 year old hips and torso quite manipulated. These are the things that make women self conscious, that create the unrealistic ideals of beauty that we have. Anyone who knows who I am knows I stand for honest and pure self love. So I took it upon myself to release the real pic (right side) and I love it. Thank you @modelistemagazine for pulling down the images and fixing this retouch issue./blockquote>

And who could forget her reaction to the insensitive comment from Fashion Police hosts Giuliana Rancic and Kelly Osbourne about the dreadlocks she wore to the Oscars in 2015. "My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough," she said in her response.

Call her a stylish young whistleblower, or just a celebrity who DGAF about industry traditions. Either way, know that she's not going to let fashion and media standards kill her vibe.