Zendaya: Game changer

THE Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) is calling Zendaya a game changer.

The organization said it will recognize the 21-year-old entertainer with its Gamechanger Award at a gala ceremony next month.

The executive director of GLSEN said the award was created to spotlight the next generation of leaders, and Zendaya was chosen for her commitment to social justice.

The star of "Spider-Man: Homecoming" and TV's "K.C. Undercover" used her acceptance speech at last month's Teen Choice Awards to call on young people to become engaged with current events and to speak up for what they think is right.

"'Spider-Man' is about a young person and so right now I want to talk to all the young people in the audience right now,” Zendaya said in her Teen Choic speech. “With all the injustice and hatred and everything that is happening right now in the world and in our country... I need you to listen and pay attention... You have a voice and it's OK to use it when you see something bad happening."

Zendaya will receive the Gamechanger recognition on Oct. 20 at the 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards in Beverly Hills, California.

Zendaya started her showbiz career at a young age, modeling for Macy's and Old Navy.

Her first acting gig was in Disney Channel's “Shake It Up,” which co-starred Bella Thorne. It was one of the highest-rated shows in Disney when it premiered in 2010. The actresses' chemistry was notable so that two years later, Disney produced the movie “Frenemies” for Thorne and Zendaya.

Zendaya is more than just an actress, though. She is a triple threat. She sings, too. Her first song was called “Something to Dance For,” which was the soundtrack “Shake It Up: Live 2 Dance.” Her self-titled debut album was released in 2013.

And she dances. Actually, her role on “Shake It Up” was that of a background dancer. But she proved that she could be in the frontlines when she joined “Dancing with the Stars” in the dancing competition's 16th season.

Zendaya was the youngest contestant then and was paired with Valentin Chmerkovskiy. They received rave reviews in the competition but eventually lost to Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough in the finale.

Her biggest project so far was the “Spider-Man” gig. But fans will soon catch Zendaya acting, singing and maybe dancing in the upcoming film “The Greatest Showman” with Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron. (AP & JGA)