Zendaya revealed her first date was to see a Spider-Man movie.
During an awards acceptance speech, Dune 2 star Zendaya shared that her first date when she was 15 years old was to see The Amazing Spider-Man in 3-D. According to The Hollywood Reporter, she made the remark while accepting the Star of the Year Award at the climax of CinemaCon’s Big Screen Achievement Awards while relating the power of the theatrical experience. Of course, she has also gone on to star as MJ in the latest series of Spider-Man films, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Far From Home, and No Way Home, while also dating Spider-Man himself, Tom Holland.
Zendaya’s acceptance speech occurred at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, where the National Association of Theater Owners’ four-day event was held. As the award suggests, Zendaya has certainly become a huge star, garnering attention for her roles in the wall-crawler films and Denis Villeneuve’s science fiction epics alongside her starring performance in the critically-acclaimed series Euphoria. For such a big-name celebrity to tell such a relatable story at the height of her fame was a lovely moment in the ceremony.
We love imagining a teenage Zendaya sitting down in a movie theater to enjoy a movie experience that would light the way for films she herself would become involved with in a significant way. As she said in her acceptance speech, a theater is a place where we can feel “seen” and “less alone,” and the story of a kid in a theater who not only felt those things then, but helps others feel that way now through her own work is truly heartwarming. The actor’s joy for her work was apparent in her speech, as she said, “I love what I do so, so much.”
According to her IMDb page, Zendaya’s name comes from the Shona language and means “to give thanks,” and there was much thanksgiving in her acceptance speech, as she expressed her gratitude to theaters and theater owners for giving her work a place to live and shine. Without them, she noted, she would not have an outlet for her talents. Surely, there is always streaming, but she noted the particular magic of the theater, a place to which Americans are increasingly returning, despite a cavalcade of at-home viewing options.
Coca-Cola sponsored the Big Screen Achievement Awards, where Zendaya was honored, alongside Melissa McCarthy, Emma Thomas, Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri, and director Christopher Nolan. Her focus on the importance of the theatrical experience was one that had permeated the event to that point, highlighting the special experience of sitting in an audience. For her part, the star said she was “honored” to be able to slip into the back of a theater and view a film of her own alongside the movie-going public of which she was once a part, referring to the experience as “healing” and “magical,” she thanked theater owners for the work they do in connecting people with stories and with each other.
Zendaya might not be sitting in the back row on a date anymore, but she’s been on the screen for many other people’s dates across the world now, at times swinging from the same webs she once saw shot from Andrew Garfield‘s wrists. That’s pretty magical right there.