Zendaya Coleman (born September 1, 1996), better known as Zendaya, is an American actress, singer, and dancer. She currently stars on the Disney Channel sitcom Shake It Up as Raquel "Rocky" Blue.
Zendaya, whose name means "to give thanks" in Shona, was born Zendaya Coleman to Claire Stoermer and Kazembe Ajamu (Coleman) on September 1, 1996, in Oakland, California. She grew up as part of the California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda, California where her mother worked as the House Manager. In addition to training at the theater's student conservatory program, and later performing in numerous stage productions, Zendaya helped her mother seat patrons and sell raffle tickets to benefit the theater.
While attending the Oakland School for the Arts, she starred as a young Ti Moune in Once on This Island at the Berkeley Playhouse and in the breakout role of the male character Joe in Caroline, or Change at Palo Alto's TheaterWorks. She also studied her craft at the California Shakespeare Theater Conservatory program and at the American Conservatory Theater. Her other stage credits include Richard III, Twelfth Night, and As You Like It, among others.