Even Though Zendaya Says She’s Her “Own Worst Critic,” She Enjoys Watching Herself Onscreen

“For some reason, I enjoy watching the work back.”

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Despite being her own harshest critic, Zendaya said in a recent interview that she actually enjoys watching herself onscreen—which, she’s in luck, because her latest film, the Luca Guadagnino-directed Challengers, hits theaters today.

While many actors can’t stand to watch themselves in movie and television projects, Zendaya told Entertainment Weekly “I don’t know if it’s because I’m a Virgo or because of the way I’ve been raised or being in the public eye for a long time,” she said. “Whatever it is, it’s innate to be my own worst critic. But for some reason, I enjoy watching the work back. I think it’s just because I lose myself in the character.” 

Zendaya wears a chartreuse chiffon dress with coordinating shoes in New York City to promote Challengers

Zendaya said she doesn't mind watching herself onscreen in film and television projects, but doesn't like seeing herself back in interviews or on talk shows.

(Image credit: Splash by Shutterstock)

The actress—who has also starred in this year’s Dune: Part Two and at some point will hopefully be filming season three of HBO’s Euphoria—said of watching her own movies “I divorce myself from whatever’s on the screen. I’ve already given over the fact that it’s Luca’s, it’s [Dune director Denis Villeneuve]’s, it’s whoever’s, and I’m in service to this other thing, and now I just get to be a spectator. Now I just get to watch.”

In Challengers, Zendaya leads the movie alongside two co-stars, Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist, “as young tennis stars whose lives intersect as teens and years later,” People writes. “When it’s a character that’s not me, I’m like, ‘Oh, this is fun, I can enjoy this other person,’” Zendaya told Entertainment Weekly—after noting that, despite being okay with watching herself in character, she doesn’t like watching herself in interviews or on talk shows. 

Zendaya in New York City for Challengers April 2024

Zendaya's latest film, "Challengers," hits theaters today, April 26, and she said she is nervous as to how fans will receive it, as she is with every project.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Zendaya attends the Louis Vuitton Womenswear Spring/Summer 2024 show

Zendaya has had a busy 2024 already, not just with "Challengers" but also the release of "Dune: Part Two," and plans to film season three of HBO's "Euphoria."

(Image credit: Getty Images)

She added, “It reminds me of the process of making it, and typically I’ve been very lucky to have a great time doing what I do, so it reminds me of being on a set or being in that space. It’s the one thing that I don’t feel that way [of being self-critical], which I typically do feel that way.”

With the release of Challengers happening today, Zendaya said “I always am nervous—I wish I was joking,” she said. “From a personal perspective, this is my first time leading a film in this way, so I’ve felt that pressure, that fear, burden, or whatever from the beginning of just wanting to make something that I’m proud of and enjoy it, and sometimes that can be very difficult.” 

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.