The 24-year-old star, who won her first Emmy Award on Sunday night for playing a high schooler struggling with substance abuse on HBO’s “Euphoria,” took part in Obama’s When We All Vote’s “Registered and Ready” Instagram takeover on Tuesday as part of National Voter Registration Day.
Before the women could discuss the importance of voting in the upcoming presidential election, the former first lady first gave the Disney Channel alum a major shoutout.
“Congratulations. I watched it, girl,” Obama gushed on Instagram Live. “I watched every episode.”
“You’re winning Emmys and encouraged voter participation,” she added. “You are a fashion icon. You are doing it all, and I’m so proud of you.”
During their chat, Zendaya encouraged young people to not put off making voting plans and to look up their polling place ahead of time.
“Sometimes we procrastinate — and I wanted to talk about the importance of not waiting until the last minute,” she said.
Obama then addressed Zendaya’s generation specifically, acknowledging that there are “a lot of people your age who are frustrated with the process and feel alienated by the system.”
“Nothing will change just by a hashtag or protest. I wish that were so, because your generation is great at that,” Obama added. “In this democracy, the only thing that matters is what you do on Election Day. ... I just want to make sure young people understand that. Don’t ever stop protesting. Don’t ever stop making your voice heard in the streets. Don’t ever stop using social media and the hashtag to get your points across. You just have to couple that with voting, too.”
Zendaya is the youngest woman to take home an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Last year’s winner, Jodie Comer, previously held the title; she was 26 when she took home her award. Zendaya is also only the second Black woman to ever win in the category. Viola Davis previously made history when she was awarded the Emmy in 2015 for her work on “How To Get Away With Murder.”
In her acceptance speech Sunday night, Zendaya spoke about her contemporaries.
“I just want to say that there is hope in the young people out there,” the actor said from her living room. “I know that our TV show doesn’t always feel like a great example of that, but there is hope in the young people. And I just want to say to all my peers out there doing the work in the streets, I see you, I admire you, I thank you.”