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Why Zendaya Is My Unexpected Elegance Role Model of The Year

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

Zendaya. She's an actress and dancer. A beauty icon. Entertainer. Actress/singer/dancer/beauty icon Zendaya is MY elegance role model of the year, and this year she has really stepped into her elegance on a whole new level. Even though I don't completely agree with her on politics, that should never be a reason to overlook the opportunity to learn from her. I once heard someone tell me to "pillage the Egyptians" with all things woke, and this is a perfect opportunity to do so.

Zendaya is beautiful, stylish, and poised—the definition of elegance. And you'd know that at first glance. But I believe she is a role model by embodying the 4 laws of elegance-- symmetry, seduction, subtraction, and sustainability-- in a remarkable and outstanding way, even beyond fashion. And different than many other celebrities.

Zendaya rose to fame as a Disney Channel star for three seasons of "Shake It Up" as Rocky Blue. She went on to produce and star in another Disney show for three seasons, "K.C. Undercover", at just 18 years old. She has recently starred in Spiderman, Dune, and Euphoria. She received two Emmy's and is the first black woman in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama category to do so.

She has thoroughly avoided the demise of many of her fellow Disney Channel child-stars by carving out her own unique path, one I would argue that is grounded in the principles of Elegance. She is considered a style icon of her generation due to her creativity and vintage finds.

Everyone in Hollywood strives for Elegance, but few achieve it. What did Zendaya do to achieve it?

Primarily, she single-handedly challenges the stereotype that elegance involves monocles, poodles, country clubs and the like. Her elegance is anything BUT cookie-cutter. I love her style because it's so unique—she has her own look and she doesn't try to copy anyone else's. She's not afraid to try new things with her hair or makeup, but she always looks like herself—and that's the power of elegance.

Along with her stylist Law Roach, Zendaya has put great detail into each of her red carpet appearances by elaborately matching her look to the theme of the night. Each time, her presentation is symmetrical with the theme.

Zendaya reflects the Spiderman Character, Doc Ock , at the No Way Home Premiere in 2021

Zendaya embraces the Spider theme at the Spiderman: No Way Home London Premiere in 2021

Giving a nod to her cartoon character, Lola, at the Space Jam: A New Legacy premiere in 2021

When not given a theme to match, Zendaya has embraced the fourth law of elegance: sustainability. She often appears in vintage finds, even as old as the 1950's.

In February of this year, Zendaya shared a dress from designer Pierre Balmain from 1956. She shared an image of her in the dress in true vintage fashion, not taken on an iPhone, but on her personal Leica M10 film camera.

This look happens to be historical too-- designer Pierre Balmain founded his label on this design that came to be known as the "New French Style" that brought a new energy to the Paris fashion scene in the aftermath of World War II.

This isn't the only time Zen has donned vintage fashion and introduced them to a new generation. In the last year, she has worn two other special pieces, a 1982 Yves Saint Laurent Classic and a 1992 striped Valentino Dress. Notice her lack of necklaces in each of these images, putting the focus on the dresses themselves and making good use of negative space.

1982 YSL Couture

1992 Valentino Collection Originally worn by Linda Evangelista

In each of these dresses she certainly uses the elegant law of seduction, although never too much, and carries herself confidently and with poise.

I could deep dive on Zendayas fashion for much longer, but I'd like to dive into the final aspect of Zendaya's elegance which isn't fashion related-- her subtraction.

Even while under immense pressure working long and complicated hours in all corners of the earth, fans are left to speculate about Zendayas personal life. Never involved in tabloid scandals, Zendaya has succeeded in letting people yearn for more about her life. When her long speculated relationship with fellow actor Tom Holland was revealed in 2021, little was known beyond their confirmation, and to this day, not much else has been addressed.

Zendaya and Boyfriend Tom Holland Street Style

Unlike many celebrities sharing the entirety of their lives with the world, she has chosen to leave her most personal details under lock and key. Her elegance is highlighted by the subtraction of these details, making us respect her all the more.

Zendaya is an excellent example of elegance. Although we may not agree politically, she never lets that get in the way and her youth makes her someone that can be looked up to as a great role model. She has a stellar fashion sense and a vintage look while keeping it very fresh and fun.



Hannah Brusven founded The Swish in 2018 to combat trashy & politically biased women's media and create a  place for young women looking for a little more than more society feeds them.


Here we believe elegance is powerful, and the key to unlocking confidence, persuasion, and impact. Explore trends, traditions, lifestyle, and more with The Swish-- for an inspired elegant life. 


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