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"I couldn't be prouder and I know you probably can't be prouder of yourself," Halle Berry told Zendaya

By Eric Todisco
February 01, 2021 11:51 AM
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Halle Berry, Zendaya
Halle Berry, Zendaya
| Credit: Earl Gibson III/Getty; George Pimentel/WireImage

Halle Berry has high praise for Zendaya.

During Sunday's virtual panel for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as a part of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, Berry, who is making her directorial debut and starring in the upcoming Netflix sports film Bruised, praised Zendaya, 24, as being the "walking embodiment" of the shift in Black women's success in Hollywood.

"At 24, that she can have an idea and go get it done and get enough support behind her to get that done and to give her the power and to keep the creativity, I think that says so much for where we have gotten and that is what makes me want to keep fighting, because of Zendaya, at 24, a Black woman can do that," said Berry, 54.

The X-Men actress went on to say that Zendaya, who is starring in Netflix's Malcom & Marie opposite John David Washington, "is proof-positive that things are changing and I couldn't be prouder and I know you probably can't be prouder of yourself, which is most important."

"But it's proof that it's changing, for sure," she added.

Berry and Zendaya were also joined during the virtual panel by HFPA members Elisabeth Sereda and Silvia Bizio, as well as Robin Wright, Andra Day, and Sia.

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Zendaya later chimed in to the conversation, explaining that as a 24-year-old in Hollywood, she feels fortunate to have already worked with men that respect her voice. 

"I've been lucky enough to work with men who have respected my power, and encouraged it, with that being Sam [Levinson] and obviously John [David Washington]," the Euphoria star said. "I've been lucky to be in those experiences that are collaborative and open to what the world should be looking like."

"Had it not been for the women before me, I wouldn't be in this position," Zendaya added.

Zendaya
Zendaya
| Credit: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Malcom & Marie stars Washington, 36, and Zendaya as a filmmaker and his girlfriend, respectively, whose relationship is put to the test on the night of his latest film's premire

In a recent interview with Variety, Washington, the son of Denzel Washington, said of Zendaya, "People are going to see in this film how much of a woman she is."

"She has far more experience than I do in the industry," Washington admitted. "I've only been in it for seven years. She's been in it longer, so I'm learning from her. I'm the rookie."

The R-rated film lands on Netflix February 5.