Zendaya, who stars on the Disney show Shake It Up when not on DWTS, wrote about the criticism in her Access Hollywood blog. "I am the kind of person who really keeps emotions hidden, and I rely on my acting skills to cover up some of the frustrations and negative thoughts I may have,” she wrote. “I have read mostly positive things on blogs, Twitter and various social media but sometimes the criticism can really get to me. One of the ones that frustrated me the most is people calling me a professional dancer. I am an actor, but I have never been paid to dance! I danced in a local hip hop troupe when I was 8 years old!! I am grateful for that experience but I can hardly call it a professional one!!"
It's true that Zendaya looks like a pro out there, which is meant as a compliment, but she's taken a lot of heat this week for getting to dance Hip Hop on the Week 9 Semifinals. That's the one style she was already comfortable with before joining DWTS. Some fans are upset because she has more than 2.6 million Twitter followers — way more than anyone else — and if there's a Twitter vote out there (like this week, for dance styles), she's just automatically going to get her way. That doesn't seem fair. Still, is it her fault she's popular and talented? Blame the show, not the star. She's just a 16-year-old girl doing her best to balance DWTS and schoolwork — and she's doing a dang good job. Think about how many teen stars go off the rails, and then see this girl with her discipline and poise.
As Zendaya continued, in her blog, "I remember some of the very first questions I was asked when I agreed to be on DWTS. They asked me what would be my biggest challenge… and I talked about how I am such a perfectionist that criticism is hard to take. After our Paso Doble when Len told me that my chin needed to be up, it was like a knife in my gut… I tried to hide my feelings on national television. But I was SO upset! I thought that I had done my best performance yet. On Wednesday, when we started working on our new dances, I was still irritated and not a good student. I couldn’t get past it. But Val helped me to refocus on the dances we had to do. And 48 hours later as I was getting over it (yes, us teenagers hold on to things a long time!)"
It's easy to forget she's a young'un, since she's treated like a peer on the show, as she should be. She said she loves her DWTS castmates, who are all "amazing," including #1 score rival Kellie Pickler, who "is the sweetest person I know." So let’s all stay sweet too … and maybe save our gripes for the judges and The Powers That Be!