DeKalb, IL — Zendaya made history Sunday becoming the youngest woman to win Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards.
The 24-year-old Oakland native earned accolades for her role as Rue on HBO’s “Euphoria” and is only the second Black actress to win in that category. Viola Davis won the award in 2015 for “How to Get Away With Murder.”
During the virtual telecast, Zendaya delivered her acceptance remotely surrounded by friends and family.
"I'm really, really nervous," she said. "Oh gosh, I just want to say thank you to the TV academy, to all of the other incredible women in this category. I admire you all so much. This is pretty crazy, I don't really cry."
In “Euphoria”, Zendaya plays Rue Bennett, a 17-year-old who returns from rehab and continues to struggle with her drug addiction. The show premiered in June 2019 and received six Emmy nominations.
Host Jimmy Kimmel noted how young she is by cracking a joke, "Would you look at that? She's younger than Baby Yoda, and she already has an Emmy."
Zendaya attended Oakland School for the Arts and studied at the California Shakespeare Theater Conservatory Program as well as the American Conservatory Theater. At 14 years old, she became known for her role on Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up.”
"I'm so grateful that you trusted me with your story, and I hope I can continue to do you proud," Zendaya said. "I know this feels like a really weird time to be celebrating, but I just want to say there is hope in the young people out there.
“I know that our TV show doesn't always feel like a great example of that, but there is hope in the young people,” she said. “I just want to say to all my peers out there doing the work in the streets: I see you, I admire you. Thank you so, so much."