“I didn’t go into acting with any ideas of where I’d wind up,” she tells PEOPLE exclusively. “Maybe this is pessimistic, but I knew I was never going to be my father, so I went into it because I love it.”
As passionate about writing scripts and directing as she is about acting, “it’s not a bourgeoisie thing for me,” explains the actress, 27, who is helping to promote beauty brand Philosophy’s Hope & Grace Initiative (which supports women living with mental-health issues) and its “How Are You, Really?” campaign that encourages deeper conversations about mental health. “It’s not some ‘Let me get back at my parents by being more famous’ kind of thing.”
For more on Zelda Williams’ journey to healing after losing her dad — and her plans for the future — pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE
The star enjoys taking on roles and projects that help her grow and found solace in writing after her dad died from suicide nearly three years ago.
An avid fan of horror and science fiction, Williams hopes to make an impact with her work. “I wrote a young adult TV show that I hope I get to make because I have five godchildren,” she shares.
FROM COINAGE: Is an Oscar Really Only Worth $1?
“I grew up with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and shows that didn’t sexualize everything and didn’t titillate everything,” she says. “I’m like, can you just give someone a really smart, spunky female lead? I want the butt-kicking show!”