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Actress and singer Zendaya Coleman first came to fame in 2010 as one of the stars of the television comedy Shake It Up.
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Born in 1996, Zendaya Coleman started acting as a child, appearing in productions at the California Shakespeare Theater and other theatrical companies near her hometown of Oakland, California. Zendaya attended the Oakland School for the Arts. In 2010, she made her television debut in the popular tween comedy series Shake It Up with Bella Thorne. Zendaya signed a recording deal with Hollywood Records in 2012. The following year,
"I'm really used to hip hop dancing ... So I kind of have to forget what I know and restart all over again."
[On competing on "Dancing with the Stars."]
she competed on Dancing with the Stars.
Born on September 1, 1996, in Oakland, California, actress and singer Zendaya Coleman comes from a theatrical background. As the daughter of a stage manager, she spent much of her youth hanging around the California Shakespeare Theater. She also trained in the theater's youth program and appeared in some of its productions.
During her days as a student at the Oakland School for the Arts, Zendaya landed a number of roles in local theatrical productions. She also honed her craft at the American Conservatory Theater and the Cal Shakes Conservatory. Zendaya had an interest in dance as well. She was a member of the Future Shock Oakland dance group for several years, and studied hula dancing at the Academy of Hawaiian Arts.
In addition to her theatrical work, Zendaya had some early success as a model, working for companies such as Macy's and Old Navy. For a Sears commercial, Zendaya performed as a back-up dancer for Selena Gomez. She eventually decided to use only her first name professionally. "Zendaya" means "to give thanks" in the language of the Shona people of Zimbabwe.
In 2010, Zendaya saw her career take off with the debut of Shake It Up on the Disney Channel. The then-14-year-old performer described the show to McClatchy-Tribune Business News as "a buddy comedy about two best friends who dream of becoming professional dancers and finally get their chance when they get to audition for their favorite show."
Zendaya and her co-star, Bella Thorne, have become tween idols to their young fan base. The songs they've sung on the show, including "Something to Dance For," have been hit downloads with their target audience, and their two characters have become so popular that they even inspired their own fashion line.
Outside of her hit show, Zendaya lent her voice to the animated television movie Pixie Hollow Games (2011). She has also made guest appearances on such series as A.N.T. Farm and Good Luck Charlie, and starred with Thorne in the 2012 television movie Frenemies.
In 2013, Zendaya made the switch from the imaginary dance show to the popular televised competition Dancing with the Stars. She was paired with professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy on the show, and competed against such celebrities as Andy Dick, Kellie Pickler and Aly Raisman. Her previous experience, however, didn't prove to be much help. As she told Good Morning America, "I'm really used to hip hop dancing ... So I kind of have to forget what I know and restart all over again."
Zendaya seems poised for success on many fronts.
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The famous dance-competition show Dancing with the Stars has seen more than a dozen seasons and a gamut of stars, including Apolo Anton Ohno, Kirstie Alley, Joey Fatone, Jennifer Grey, David Hasselhoff, Buzz Aldrin, Brandy, Wynonna Judd, Dorothy Hamill, D.L. Hughley, Jacoby Jones, Ingo Rademacher and Aly Raisman. Learn more about the show's contestants, who, for a period, swapped their skills as athletes, actors, musicians, comedians, TV personalities and politicians for a chance to show off their footwork on national TV.
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