Zendaya, at 24-years-old, just became the youngest person to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. The win is for her raw and powerful performance as Rue Bennett, a teenage drug addict fresh from rehab, in Euphoria. With her acting career starting in kids’ shows and movies on Disney and this being her first major awards nomination, this is definitely a huge step in cementing her prowess as an actress.
The Emmys live feed showed Zendaya celebrating with her family and team as she was announced as the winner. “I want to say thank you to the TV Academy. To all the other incredible women in this category, I admire you all so much. This is pretty crazy. I don’t really cry… Thank you, HBO and A24, for all your support. Thank you to my family and my team … I’m really grateful to have you here,” she said as she accepted her award.
She continued her speech by thanking her Euphoria family. “To the incredible cast and crew of Euphoria, I’m so lucky to go to work with you every day, and I’m inspired by everything you do. And to [show creator] Sam Levinson, I appreciate you so much … I’m so grateful for Rue. I’m so grateful that you trust me with your story. And I hope I can continue to do you proud.”
Zendaya also made sure to emphasize a message of hope, highlighting the youth and thanking protesters. “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. And I just want to say to all my peers out there doing the work in the streets: I see you. I admire you. I thank you.”
Aside from breaking the age record, Zendaya is also only the second black actress to win in this category after Viola Davis’ win for How to Get Away With Murder in 2015. When asked about the significance of Rue Bennett as a complex black female character, Zendaya said, “She is a full, whole human being. She’s layered and she’s complicated… I’ve been grateful for the people who feel they connect to Rue.”
Euphoria also took home the awards for Outstanding Contemporary Makeup (Non-Prosthetic) and Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics, giving them a total of three Emmy wins out of the show’s six nominations.
The series has been confirmed for a second season, but filming and premiere dates are still up in the air because of production delays due to COVID.