Have you ever seen a new celebrity photoshoot and realized it’s going to break the internet? That’s probably the feeling you’ll get when you clock W magazine’s new cover story starring Zendaya and John David Washington. Hot off the heels of their smoldering black-and-white film Malcolm & Marie, the pair look every bit like old-school Beverly Hills socialites for the W spread, inspired by American photographer Slim Aarons’ work. However, there’s more to Zendaya’s blonde hair — a key element of the shoot — than meets the eye.
According to W’s Lynn Hirschberg, who penned the article, Zendaya pointedly insisted on being blonde for the Old Hollywood photoshoot, with the writer noting that the hairstyle was “both a jab at the traditional stereotypes of white women” and an avenue for exploring a new character or persona. “The wig was very important,” stylist Law Roach told W. “The entire outfit — the jewels, the gorgeous gown, the stilettos — they don’t make the same statement without the blonde hair.”
More than one blonde look came into play, too. Zendaya wore the rooted honey blonde wig with her signature deep part, volumized at the crown, as well as styled into a bouffant with a yellow hair scarf. For another look, Zendaya sported teased blonde hair with trendy flipped ends and a thick black headband. (W noted online that Zendaya’s hair was styled by Kim Kimble.)
Naturally, the makeup also helped to tell the story. Zendaya’s nails are painted a cherry red, and her eyeliner is drawn into a ‘50s wing. The article explained that Zendaya’s goal for the photoshoot was to “replace the conventional idea of white society in [Slim Aarons’] picture with the more modern concept of a Black couple who live in a similarly grand house,” with a quote from Zendaya noting: “That life, but reimagined for now, with the look of then.”
Ideal, if you’ve been on the hunt for more high-glam inspiration after watching Malcolm & Marie. Check out the entire W photoshoot of Zendaya and Washington along with the in-depth cover story on the magazine’s website.