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‘It’s Hard for People to Wrap Around the Idea That I Am Grown’: Zendaya Addresses Age Gap Between Her and ‘Malcolm & Marie’ Co-star John David Washington

“Malcolm & Marie” stars John David Washington and Zendaya can’t seem to shake the backlash of those questioning the age gap between the actors.

While Washington previously addressed the concerns, the former Disney Channel actress is now tackling the issue head on. During an interview with “E! Daily Pop,” Zendaya expressed that her playing the role of a 16-year-old on “Euphoria” may contribute to audiences struggling to see her as an adult.

Zendaya, 24, and John David Washington, 36, portray lovers in the upcoming Netflix film “Malcolm & Marie.” The film premieres Feb. 5. (Photo: @zendaya/Instagram)

“I’ve played a 16-year-old since I was 16. You have to remember, also, people grew up with me as a child,” Zendaya explained.

“It’s like watching, I guess, your younger sibling now, you know; they’re grown…So it’s hard for people to wrap around the idea that I am grown in real life. You know, even though I do play a teenager on television still,” she continued.

For John David, working with the 24-year-old was an opportunity to gain industry insight from someone who has a more extensive resume than himself.

“I wasn’t concerned about it [age gap] because she is a woman. People are going to see in this film how much of a woman she is,” the 36-year-old explained to Variety. “She has far more experience than I do in the industry. I’ve only been in it for seven years. She’s been in it longer, so I’m learning from her.”

Zendaya made history at the 2020 Emmy Awards when she won best lead actress in a drama. (Photo: @zendaya/Instagram)

Matching her experience is the collection of accolades she has amassed over the years. In September 2020, she became the youngest person to win an Emmy for best lead actress in a drama for her portrayal of 16-year-old Rue on HBO’s hit-series “Euphoria.”

In her acceptance speech she said: “I know this feels like a really weird time to be celebrating, but I just want to say that there is hope in the young people out there. 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.”

Zendaya beat out older and even more established actresses Jennifer Aniston, Olivia Colman, Sandra Oh and Laura Linney.

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