“I had to stop myself from being ignorant and being a kid,” she said.
Zendaya says she likes to think of herself as a being real model, rather than being a role model.
“As a teenager you want to say the first thing that comes out of your mouth and I had to really take my time and think about what my parents taught me, which is-- the important things in the world are your voice and your knowledge,” Zendaya added on “Good Morning America” today about her response on social media to Rancic’s comments saying she must smell “like patchouli oil, or maybe weed,” because of her dreadlocks on the red carpet.
“I sat in my room and used both of those things and hopefully, whether it be a little girl out there or a young man out there that was able to read that and see positive change and stand up for themselves in any kind of incident in their life, then I did what I’m supposed to do,” the Disney channel star added.
“I don’t want to play a role,” she said. “I don’t want to pretend to be someone I’m not. It just helps that I’m a good kid. It helps that I just don’t like doing crazy stuff. I want to continue to be that positive light or positive influence for young people because I feel like sometimes we lack that. I feel like I’m given that power or I’m given that position … people know my name for bigger reasons.”
The 18-year-old is certainly taking on that role, keeping busy as the star of Disney Channel's number one show right now, "KC Undercover,” as well being a platinum-selling recording artist and hosting the Radio Disney Music Awards this weekend.
"It’s a little nerve-wracking because I’ve never really hosted before, but I’ve got skills,” she said. “I can pull it off-- do a little improvisation.”
The Radio Disney Music Awards air on Sunday, April 26, on Disney Channel at 8 p.m. eastern.
Disney is the parent company of ABC News.