Zendaya Reflects on Her Favorite Looks Ever and Being 'Dragged' for Wearing a Mullet to the Grammys

·3 min read
Zendaya InStyle Cover
Zendaya InStyle Cover

PHOTO BY AB+DM

Zendaya seems to unleash a mesmerizing alter ego every time she steps foot on a red carpet, creating must-see fashion moments that the world simply can't get enough of it.

During an interview with InStyle editor-in-chief Laura Brown for the magazine's annual Best Dressed issue and podcast, the cover star, 25, explained that her captivating presence is "an extension" of her acting career.

Zendaya InStyle Cover
Zendaya InStyle Cover

PHOTO BY AB+DM

"I think about red carpets as having their own characters and narratives. We build a little story for all the looks," Zendaya shared. "It's like an extension of my acting career in a weird way—you just pop this wig on or whatever it is. Clothes sometimes are very emotional, so I get to embody these different facets—maybe they're of myself, or maybe they're alter egos. But I get to meet these different women through clothes."

The Euphoria actress sometimes practices poses in the mirror to see what angle works with a certain silhouette but said that, ultimately, nailing a high-profile appearance comes down to one thing: confidence.

RELATED: Law Roach on Zendaya's 'Fearless' Style: 'She Puts Everything Into It'

"When I was 14 and at my first movie premiere, my outfit was a bunch of stuff that I had from Target. And I thought I was fly. I felt cool. To this day, I think that's really all that matters. Then you know you're doing the right thing."

Zendaya InStyle Cover
Zendaya InStyle Cover

PHOTO BY AB+DM

When asked about looks that stand-out the most, Zendaya told Brown the Moschino butterfly gown she wore to the Australian premiere of The Greatest Showman in 2017, the Joan of Arc-inspired chainmail dress she wore to the 2018 Met Gala and the hot pink Tom Ford breastplate she wore to the 2020 Critics Choice Awards are three of her all-time favorites.

zendaya fave looks
zendaya fave looks

Getty (3)

"Nothing could hurt me—I was like a warrior," she said of the chrome design.

Zendaya InStyle Cover
Zendaya InStyle Cover

PHOTO BY AB+DM

Reflecting on the menswear-inspired outfit she wore to the 2016 Grammys (one of her more controversial looks), Zendaya said, "I got dragged for my mullet at the time, but kids love mullets now. I'm happy about my David Bowie mullet.

Actress/singer Zendaya arrives at The 58th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 15, 2016
Actress/singer Zendaya arrives at The 58th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 15, 2016

Getty

The Dune actress also shared a few of her style icons, joking that if Cher ever wanted to style her, she and longtime image architect Law Roach "would love it."

"All that custom Bob Mackie that she owned, I want all of that," Zendaya said of the legendary performer.

Zendaya InStyle Cover
Zendaya InStyle Cover

PHOTO BY AB+DM

The star's InStyle cover comes just days after she made a major statement at the Women in Film Awards at The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on Wednesday — where she was honored with a Crystal Award for being a trailblazer.

Zendaya InStyle Cover
Zendaya InStyle Cover

PHOTO BY AB+DM

The Spider-Man star dressed in a gray floor-length body-con dress that had a distinct gold breastplate that created a contouring effect. She accessorized with gold-plated earrings and Christian Louboutin gold pumps.

RELATED: PEOPLE's Best Dressed Stars of 2021

"They call me New New," Zendaya captioned a video on her Instagram Story of herself, referring to the LOEWE dress from the brand's Spring Summer 2022 collection.

Zendaya attends the Women in Film's annual award ceremony
Zendaya attends the Women in Film's annual award ceremony

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images Zendaya

The breastplate, which is made from brass, is "handcrafted in France by metal sculptors using unique soldering and hammer techniques," per LOEWE.

Zendaya InStyle Cover
Zendaya InStyle Cover

PHOTO BY AB+DM

Zendaya softened the armored look with a slicked-back low bun hairstyle and light peachy makeup.

The PEOPLE's Best Dressed Star of 2021 finalist is known for her daring looks and ever changing style.

"Her looks are so unexpected, and she's constantly evolving," Zendaya's longtime image architect Law Roach told PEOPLE for the 2021 Style Issue last month.

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