In Challengers, Zendaya Is Excited to Play a Woman, Not a Girl

Just hours before the Australian premiere of her film Challengers, Zendaya still isn’t sure what to wear. The actor has just touched down in Sydney to kick off promo for the Luca Guadagnino film, with a little help from her longtime stylist, Law Roach.

“This is the first night, our first unh into the world,” he tells her. “This whole tennis thing is more about a lifestyle.” But the actor pours her trust into her stylist. “I grew up with you as my teacher, so all the things I learn through fashion, I learn through you,” she says. “I’m your brightest pupil!”

“I believe that tennis is her first love,” Zendaya says of her Challengers character, Tashi Duncan, who suffers a career-ending injury. “The boys are just kind of avenues for her to keep playing because she can’t play herself.” The role is particularly exciting for Zendaya, who sees it as a moment to shed her younger image. She’s been playing a teen—from a squeaky-clean Disney darling to the grungy Euphoria anti-ingenue—for the majority of her career. “This is really finally me being able to play a woman closer to my own age,” she says.

In the end, she decides to don a green, glittering custom Loewe dress emblazoned with an actual tennis player from Jonathan Anderson—who also designed the film’s costumes. It’s an ace.

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