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Zendaya Once Again Wins Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

This year's Emmy win makes Zendaya the youngest woman to ever collect multiple lead acting Emmys for a continuing series.

Euphoria Season 2 Episode 8 Zendaya Rue HBO


Eddy Chen / HBO

Another win, another stat to add to the Emmy history books.

On Monday night, “Euphoria” star Zendaya won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for the second time at the 74th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Now, not only is she the youngest person to ever win in the category, having first won when she was 24, she is also the youngest woman to ever collect multiple lead acting Emmys for a continuing series, surpassing Mary Tyler Moore’s record set in 1966, when the comedy legend was 29.

In Season 2 of the hit HBO drama, Zendaya embodies struggling high school teen Rue Bennett, capturing her prescription pill addiction with excruciating detail.

This year, Zendaya shared the category with “Yellowjackets” star Melanie Lynskey, “Ozark” star Laura Linney, “The Morning Show” star Reese Witherspoon, and “Killing Eve” stars Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer.

While the “Euphoria” star is the youngest person to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series two times over, she is actually not the youngest person to have won multiple performing Emmys. That honor goes to Kristy McNchol, who won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her work on “Family” in 1977 and 1979, when she was 15 and 16 years old, respectively.

In addition to the recognition she received for playing Rue, Zendaya had three more Emmy nominations this year. Two were for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics, with her having written the songs “I’m Tired” and “Elliot’s Song” with the show’s composer Labrinth, and one was for Outstanding Drama Series since she is also one of the executive producers of “Euphoria.”

Zendaya’s Emmy win for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series caps a year of highs and lows for “Euphoria.” While it was more popular than ever, becoming the second most-watched series in HBO history, Season 2 was plagued by rumors of production being a toxic work environment, and even had a moment where anti-drug campaign D.A.R.E. accused it of glamorizing addiction.

To the former accusation, HBO put out a statement saying “the well-being of cast and crew on our productions is always a top priority,” and that “Euphoria” was produced in “full compliance with all safety guidelines and guild protocols.” For the latter, Zendaya told Entertainment Weekly, “Our show is in no way a moral tale to teach people how to live their life or what they should be doing. If anything, the feeling behind ‘Euphoria,’ or whatever we have always been trying to do with it, is to hopefully help people feel a little bit less alone in their experience and their pain. And maybe feel like they’re not the only one going through or dealing with what they’re dealing with.”

That quote was actually part of an interview about the Season 2 episode that Zendaya submitted for Emmy consideration, titled “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird.” IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers commended her performance in the midseason episode by saying “Zendaya is attuned to every trigger, shifting up and up and up with each new challenge, but it’s even more impressive that she’s able to highlight Rue’s core truth by dialing down.”

Zendaya revealed to Vogue Italia in July that she was actually supposed to direct the episode that followed, but she did not “have enough time to do it the right way.” Though she believes she will direct an episode of “Euphoria” Season 3, fans will not be able to see the final cut until 2024, when the teen drama returns to HBO.

In between then, Zendaya will next be seen alongside actors Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist playing tennis pros in the new Luca Guadagnino film “Challengers.” She will also reprise her role as Chani in Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part Two,” set to be released in 2023.

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