Zendaya’s Dancing With The Stars Blog: Overcoming Criticism & Working Hard For High Scores

I can’t think of the words to express how I felt after Tuesday’s show. I tried to Tweet how I felt and 140 characters really didn’t cut it! I know that I felt relieved, thankful and blessed, but somehow words can’t describe my emotions deep inside. I am extremely appreciative of this experience.

I am the kind of person who really keeps emotions hidden, and I rely on my acting skills to cover up some of the frustrations and negative thoughts I may have. I have read mostly positive things on blogs, Twitter and various social media but sometimes the criticism can really get to me. One of the ones that frustrated me the most is people calling me a professional dancer. I am an actor, but I have never been paid to dance! I danced in a local hip hop troupe when I was 8 years old!! I am grateful for that experience but I can hardly call it a professional one!!

I remember some of the very first questions I was asked when I agreed to be on “DWTS.” They asked me what would be my biggest challenge… and I talked about how I am such a perfectionist that criticism is hard to take. After our Paso Doble when Len told me that my chin needed to be up, it was like a knife in my gut… I tried to hide my feelings on national television. But I was SO upset! I thought that I had done my best performance yet. On Wednesday, when we started working on our new dances, I was still irritated and not a good student. I couldn’t get past it. But Val helped me to refocus on the dances we had to do. And 48 hours later as I was getting over it (yes, us teenagers hold on to things a long time!), I realized that I still had to get that perfect score and I would stop at nothing to get it (including dreaming the dances at night, and waking up thirsty at 2 AM from dancing in my sleep!).

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So, needless to say, I was extremely happy when we got the 10 from Len for the Fox Trot and then the three 10’s for the salsa. Performing the encore the next day was a BLAST and an honor!!

I want to say that my fellow cast mates are amazing. Aly is so supportive at every step, Kellie is the sweetest person I know, Jacoby is my big brother now, Ingo is like an uncle (and Peanut is my newest lil’ cousin!) and I will definitely miss Sean and his great smile and kindness (as I miss all the others who have left). Every pro is so supportive of me, treats me with such respect and encourages me 24/7. Here’s a confession… I do want to go all the way!! So I am going to dig WAY deep down inside these next few weeks and hopefully get to the finish line!!

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Lastly, an update about my Grandma!! The news is good… no, GREAT!! After two surgeries, she received the news today that she is cancer free!! Thank you to Val and “Dancing with the Stars” for being a part of the healing for my Grandma!! And thank you, readers, fans, and everyone for all the kind thoughts, prayers and positive energy to the universe!! It’s a great day!!

-- Zendaya

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