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Zendaya Says There's Nothing Wrong with Casual Hookups – 'As Long as You Protect Yourself and Get Tested Periodically'

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James White/Cosmopolitan

Zendaya may only be 19, but she’s not letting that keep her from speaking out about issues important to her.

In her cover interview in the July issue of Cosmopolitan, the actress and singer opens up about whether she’s more of a long-term relationship or quick hookup type.

“I would much rather be in love and have the full experience with the person I’m doing that with,” she says. “Everyone deserves to be in love – it’s different from when you’re with someone you don’t really know.”

But that doesn’t mean she’s against more casual flings: “As long as you protect yourself and get tested periodically, then by all means, go ahead and do what you’ve got to do!”

Zendaya
James White/Cosmopolitan

In the upcoming issue, Zendaya also shares her experiences with racism and inequality in the entertainment industry.

“I didn’t like my hair and makeup one time on a photo shoot, and my publicist told me, ‘You should just be happy with it – they haven’t had a black girl on the cover since forever,’ ” the “Replay” singer says. “She’s no longer my publicist.”

Instances like these are what have shaped how Zendaya now chooses her projects.

“The only way I was going to come back to Disney Channel was if I was in a position of more power,” the star and coproducer of K.C. Undercover says. “One thing that is really important to me is diversity on the channel. It’s hard as a young person of a different ethnicity or background to look at the TV and not see anyone who looks like you. Representation is very important.”

And the teen star is advocating for change outside of the workplace as well.

“There’s really crazy stuff happening right now [in politics], and it’s disappointing, sad and scary,” she says. “My generation, we really have to step up to the plate and vote.”

She adds: “Tweeting is great – people say, ‘Oh, I don’t want this or that’ – but at the end of the day, tweeting isn’t a ballot. Just saying that you don’t like someone on Twitter is not going to turn a state blue or red. You have to vote.”