Zendaya Personally Made Sure That “K.C. Undercover” Was the Epic Show We All Deserved

Okay, we always knew Z was a boss. But this is just next-level proof.

If I were in a group chat with Zendaya – in a total dream world, of course – I would probably be the annoying friend who would ask her advice about everything. Not only would I ask the actress her thoughts on the biggest social justice issues of our time and which shoes I should pair with my dress so I could look as effortlessly chic as she does, but I’d ask her things like which TV shows I should binge-watch, and literally what she thinks I should be when I grow up.

I trust her opinion on everything.

Which is why it makes total sense why the Disney Channel invited Zendaya into early meetings while developing her current hit show K.C. Undercover — and took all of her ideas and criticisms very seriously.

In a new interview with Vogue, the actress explained that after she wrapped her show Shake It Up at age 16, she was approached with the prospect of another series, then-titled Super Awesome Katy.

“I got in a room with the heads of Disney Channel,” she shared, explaining that she spent the meeting asserting that her demands would have to be met for her to even consider being part of the show, and one non-negotiable was that she’d be a producer on the project.

Zendaya also wanted to change the lead character’s name (“Do I look like a Katy to you?” she said,) assure the series focused on a family of color, and highlight a refreshing kind of female hero.

“I wanted to make sure that she wasn’t good at singing or acting or dancing. That she wasn’t artistically inclined. I didn’t want them to all of a sudden be like, ‘Oh, yeah, and then she sings this episode!’ No. She can’t dance; she can’t sing. She can’t do that stuff. There are other things that a girl can be,” she said. “I want her to be martial arts–trained. I want her to be able to do everything that a guy can do. I want her to be just as smart as everybody else. I want her to be a brainiac. I want her to be able to think on her feet. But I also want her to be socially awkward, not a cool kid. I want her to be normal with an extraordinary life.”

It is beyond impressive that Z was able to voice her feedback in such a confident way that the network was able to see her vision and work with her to bring it to life. It’s certainly not easy for anyone to walk into a meeting and explain exactly what you want — especially when your job or entire career might be on the line.

“A lot of people don’t realize their power,” she shared. “I have so many friends who say yes to everything or feel like they can’t stand up for themselves in a situation. No: You have the power.”

You see why I trust this young woman with my world?

Written by Kristine Hope Kowalski

Kristine is a writer and celebrity entertainment news journalist with a specific obsession with Nickelodeon + Disney Channel shows, boy bands, K-Pop, Broadway, and international series dramas. If she's not writing or tucked away in a good book, she is most likely traveling the world and spamming her friends' Instagram feeds with photos from her adventures. Kristine has a BA in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University (2011), and an MA in Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Thought from NYU (2013). She is currently pursuing her second Master's in Journalism at Harvard.