Zendaya Pays Tribute to Donyale Luna in Recent Essence Cover

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In this month’s 50th anniversary cover of Essence magazine, actress and singer Zendaya honored Donyale Luna, the woman credited to be the first African-American supermodel.

Luna gained popularity in the 1960s as the first black supermodel to appear as cover girl eleven times for different popular magazines including British Vogue. The supermodel was larger than life as she was 6 foot 2 and dominated the fashion industry by the 1970s. Zendaya embodied some of Luna’s pictures in her recent photoshoot for Essence.

For the historic cover, Zendaya recreated several photos of Luna and was photographed by the African-American studio AB+DM. The studio is comprised of two photographers, Ahmad Barber and Donte Maurice.

In this month’s issue of Essence, writer Sylvia Obell interviewed the singer, actress, and dancer about her experience in Hollywood. At just 24, Zendaya is the youngest woman to ever win an Emmy for outstanding leading actress in a drama for her performance in HBO’s hit drama Euphoria. Zendaya is also known for her work in the films The Greatest Showman and Spider-man: Homecoming.

When talking to Obell about her experience in Hollywood chasing her dreams, Zendaya said, “It just feels like a lot of the time, especially for young Black people, you’re birthed into a system that’s not built for you. It’s on us to take it from here and hopefully make it better. But it doesn’t really look like that right now—and the people in charge don’t like to listen to us. But it’s important to lean into hope and lean into the beautiful things that I see my peers doing, whether through their activism or through their art.”

Fans have expressed their excitement about Zendaya’s photos on the cover of Essence on social media. They have congratulated the artist for her work in the entertainment industry and commented on how she has made significant strides for people of color.

We loved Zendaya’s take on honoring Luna in her recent cover with Essence and cannot wait to see the holiday special episodes of Euphoria which premiere on December 6, 2020.