Entertainment | April 4th, 2023
The Cost of Hard Work & Knowing Your Worth
By: Robert Tucker II
Some might believe that consistency is key and that hard work comes with a price. In this case, money is the cost of success for a particular television series actress.
“Euphoria,” a hit television series on HBO that focuses on a group of high school students navigating through life’s trials, tribulations, and problems, is rewarding their biggest star: Zendaya. The show’s lead has re-negotiated her original contract with HBO, and for a good reason.
Zendaya, who has been acting since she was 13, first rose to fame in the hit Disney sitcom “Shake it Up” as dancer Rocky Blue. Since then, the now 26-year-old has starred in blockbuster films such as “The Greatest Showman” and “Space Jam: A New Legacy” and has also become a part of a few of Hollywood’s greatest movie franchises, such as “Dune” and the Marvel Cinematic Universes “Spider-Man” trilogy. Now she is considered one of the biggest movie stars in America.
In “Euphoria,” she plays the character of Rue Bennett, a “miserable” high school student who struggles with substance abuse after her father’s death. Becoming a Global Globe and two-time Emmy Award winner (accolades from her role in the series) has built a reputation of professionalism, precision and substance within Zendaya’s career. The award-winning actress is reported to have closed a deal that is considered every actor’s dream and has finalized a deal that will pay her nearly $1 million per episode.
As an Executive Producer working with the storylines created for the series, Zendaya determines certain decisions for the show’s plot regularly. One of her desires for the nationally syndicated television series is to “explore the lives of each main character out of high school.”
She has informed media blogs that she wants the possibility to create an innovative and unique way to witness the ups and downs of all the main characters in a more positive light.
The show features many young Hollywood stars, such as Sydney Sweeney as Cassie Howard, Hunter Schafer as Jules Vaughn, Alexa Demie as Maddy Perez, and Angus Cloud as Fezco.
Sweeney explained to media platforms last year how happy she is for all her colleagues. However, it shows that not all actors are granted the financial earnings they deserve.
“If I wanted to take a six-month break, I don’t have the income to cover that,” Sweeney told the Hollywood Reporter last year. “They don’t pay actors like they used to, and with streamers, you no longer get residuals. The established stars will always get paid, but I must give 5% to my lawyer, 10% to my agents, and 3%, or something like that, to my business manager. I must pay my publicist every month, and that’s more than my mortgage.”
In 2021, Deadline reported that Angela Bassett earned $450,000 per “9-1-1” episode, making her the highest-earning black female actor at the time. Zendaya joins the list of the whole lead cast of “Friends” and “Game of Thrones” from their final season, Elisabeth Moss on Apple’s “Shining Girls,” Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon for “Big Little Lies,” and Kerry Washington for co-starring & producing the hit series “Little Fires Everywhere” to make $1 million each episode of particular series.
This historic accomplishment makes Zendaya the youngest, highest-paid African American female actor on television right now, according to Complex.
Rewarding women of color in entertainment is extremely important due to the unjust circumstances that African Americans have endured throughout the industry. It is essential to create a consistent foundation for all entertainers, regardless of ethnicity, to be paid what they deserve.