• Alexandria Jones

Icons Representing Icons: Zendaya’s Tribute to Supermodel Donyale Luna


It is no surprise that Zendaya’s recent cover shoot is one to be remembered. The Emmy award-winning actress graced the cover of Essence for their November/December 2020 issue with photos inspired by 60s icon and supermodel, Donyale Luna. Zendaya recreated some of Luna’s most memorable shoots in a similar style, giving us glamorous renditions of Luna’s well-known looks that are both alluring and graceful.



Donyale Luna is known by many as the world’s first Black supermodel. Her work was groundbreaking and sparked change within the modeling industry. In 1966, Luna became the first Black model to appear on the cover of British Vogue also making her the first Black model to appear on the cover of any type of Vogue magazine. She worked during a time when Black models were less than favorable and even though diversity continues to be a problem within the modeling and beauty industries today, Luna helped pave the way for diverse beauty to breakthrough in modeling.


The younger generation of stars honoring the idols who came before them is always nice to see. Acknowledging their achievements and their role in creating the opportunities that are now accessible for their generation, gives the credit where it is due. In her interview, Zendaya told Essence, “I had so much fun on this shoot paying homage to Donyale Luna, the first Black supermodel. A lot of what I do, specifically within fashion, is a tribute to fashion icons who came before me — many of whom are Black women. I love the way it turned out. I’m very proud of it. It’s one of my favorite cover shoots I’ve ever done.” Like Luna, Zendaya is an icon herself, breaking barriers in television and dazzling the world with her incredible style at red carpet events.



From a child star on Disney Channel to now, this 24-year-old Oakland native has become the youngest actor to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her performance as the teen drug addict, Rue Bennett, on the HBO series, Euphoria. In addition, her role as Michelle Jones, also known as “MJ” in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, was unmatched. Although her character was not a direct adaptation of Mary Jane from the series, her role as Peter Parker’s love interest in these films put a delightful spin on the character and added to the diversity within the movie franchise.


Zendaya continues to embody her achievements with such poise. Her work and activism continue to inspire many that look to her in admiration. She has accomplished so much throughout her career and will only continue moving forward from here.



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