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Zendaya Dishes on the #WeNeedMore Campaign with NYLON

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Actress/Singer Zendaya recently spoke with NYLON for their ‘Unapologetic’ series, where she dished on her involvement with Verizon’s #WeNeedMore campaign.

According to the Verizon website, the #WeNeedMore campaign aims to: “brings free technology, free access and immersive hands-on learning opportunities to kids in underserved schools and communities. We inspire tomorrow’s creators to use technology to build brighter futures for themselves, their families and the world.”

During her interview, Zendaya opened up on why she wanted to partner with the campaign, saying:

“I think immediately when they told me about it I was like, “Yeah, this is perfect.” I kind of witnessed the power of technology in underprivileged schools because that literally is my mom’s story. My mom has been a teacher for 20 years in Oakland [,California]—and not in the great parts of Oakland. Those underprivileged and underserved schools do not have the resources or the budget to have that type of access. We glamorize being a singer, a dancer, an athlete, and that’s awesome, but most kids just say, “I want to be famous.” What I saw through my mom bringing technology into her schools, [was] her opening a door that otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to see—opportunities for themselves in other fields and in other ways.

“[My mom] was just telling me about bringing in 3-D printers to schools. First of all, I had just recently seen a 3-D printer [and] I thought it was the coolest shit in the world, and I’m 20 years old. That’s something that is so cool for a young person to be able to see, have it right in front of them, and be hands-on, like “Wow that exists. I can do that, I can make that happen.” I think it’s really cool, especially with how many tech jobs there actually are in the real world. It’s a real world thing that they can achieve and they can get out there and do. So I think it’s just kind of putting a spotlight on them and allowing them to be able to just open their minds.”

Zendaya for NYLON Magazine

As for her involvement with the campaign, Zendaya revealed that she will be starring in a new PSA promoting the initiative:

“I shot a PSA and basically, the angle is “There’s already me, there’s already so and so, but we need more yous. Go after something that’s for you.” I feel like that’s a powerful statement [to tell] kids. You could be the next LeBron James or you could be the next so and so, and it’s always this celebrity or whatever. But to say to a kid that you could be the next you, that’s powerful. You can create your own future and look at all these opportunities that are here for you and look at all the people that are going to help you get there. I think that’s kind of the thing that’s around what it is today. I think it’s powerful and it’s very much connected to what I personally have experienced again through my mom and both of my parents being educators. [I’m] raising awareness, but also, because I’m young, I get those kids who are in the programs excited about it and even more hyped up about the stuff that they’re learning and they’re into, knowing that I’m seeing them and I’m watching them and I’m encouraging them to keep going in that field.”

Zendaya for NYLON Magazine

The actress also opened up on her activism experience, saying:

“It’s been incredible. Again, I think it’s one of those things where I just feel compelled to do these things. It’s not somebody telling me, “It’s a good look if you go show up at this this and this.” This is my mom saying, “We gotta go.” This is me saying, “We gotta go.” I don’t want to sit here and rant like, “Ooh, I’m going to be an activist today and do this this.” You’re drawn to those things and you feel like you need to ACT. Act upon what you see going on. I don’t know, maybe I have a big mouth, which I never thought I did. I’ve always been shy, which is weird—so very shy, believe it or not. It’s an unsettling feeling if I sit here on Twitter while everything is happening, and I’m just going to tweet about my new movie or my new project or whatever and just ignore what’s going on. I mean, hello, you can’t—you can’t. Anybody who has a conscience.”

“People are scared out of it because when that does happen, where you do act and speak up, of course, people aren’t gonna agree with you. That’s the whole point. Of course, people are gonna be a little bit against you and whatever. But as long as you’re willing to open your ears to maybe even the negative comments—because sometimes you have to hear other people’s side of things in order to change their mind or in order to see where they’re coming from to make a better decision on how to help them get to the good side and to understand why things are happening the way they are. So you have to just be open-minded and listen and learn and all that good stuff, and not be afraid to speak up.”

You can read Zendaya’s full interview over at NYLON and check out more about the #WeNeedMore campaign here!

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