Zendaya Says Her Grandmother Inspired Her Obsession With Heels

Inspiration was close to home for Zendaya when she made her foray into shoe design.

The 20-year-old actress recalled what piqued her fascination with footwear today at the 30th annual Footwear News Achievement Awards in New York City, where her namesake Daya by Zendaya shoe line was recognized as the Launch of the Year.

Zendaya FNAA 2016
Zendaya wearing shoes from her own line on the FNAA red carpet.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock

“I was always obsessed with heels and always wanted to be in them, so it’s only fitting that I became a shoe designer myself,” the “Spider-Man” star shared with Footwear News on the red carpet at the footwear industry’s equivalent to the Oscars.

“My mom never really wore heels — she’s not a heels kind of woman. She’s 6-foot-4 and was always self-conscious about wearing heels, but I was obsessed with them,” she added. “So I would go to my grandma’s closet and try on her shoes, no matter how big they were, and walk around everywhere.”

Zendaya at the 2016 FNAAs for her Daya shoe line’s Launch of the Year award.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.

Zendaya recently produced a fall ’16 collection that starts at $70 for slide sandals and tops out at $125 for mid-calf gladiators. Other styles include flats, booties, strappy pumps and classic heels.

She added that shoe design transcends aesthetics — it’s also an emotional experience. “In many ways they can change how people feel,” she explained. “That’s why I love fashion — it’s emotional and makes you feel something. If you buy a pair of shoes, that feeling of happiness is a real thing.”

Cuba Gooding Jr. John Varvatos FNAA 2016
Cuba Gooding Jr. (left) with designer John Varvatos.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock

Meanwhile, Cuba Gooding Jr. shared his first shoe obsession with Spy on the red carpet: Converse.

“I started out as a break-dancer,” the Oscar winner shared ahead of presenting the Social Impact award to his friend John Varvatos. “If you didn’t have a pair (of Converse) in your ‘hood, then you couldn’t compete with the other guys,” he said.

“When I see those shoes it brings me back to hustling for food for dinner while wearing my Converse. You’d put the cardboard down, then put your hat down and do backflips in your Converse shoes on the streets — hustling for money. I danced to ‘Breakin’ Electric Boogaloo’ is one and “Beat Box” from Art of Noise was my jam. I would start flipping around like a gymnast.”

The FNAAs are sponsored by FFANY, Zappos Luxury, FDRA and Two Ten.

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