Zendaya has a lot to look forward to in 2023. The Golden Globe–winning actor will star in two highly anticipated films this year, each helmed by celebrated directors. First: Challengers, a Luca Guadagnino–directed tennis drama releasing in August. Then, in October, the second installment of Denis Villeneuve’s ambitious adaptation of the sci-fi classic Dune. “I’m in really special hands,” Zendaya says of working with two modern auteurs. When we speak, the actor is enjoying a rare moment of downtime in London. “I’m taking a break right now,” Zendaya tells Vogue, speaking over the phone. “I have a full year ahead of me.”
Break is a relative term. Despite her busy schedule, Zendaya recently added another gig to her already impressive resume: Louis Vuitton ambassador. It makes sense that one of the most recognisable brands in the world would partner with an actor who has consistently bent red carpet fashion to her advantage. Over the years—often with longtime stylist Law Roach by her side—Zendaya has worn outfits that live well-beyond the next day’s fashion recaps. She’s donned a crown of dreadlocks to the Oscars; worn a hot-pink Tom Ford breastplate to the 2020 Critic’s Choice Awards; transformed into a Joan of Arc of sorts for the 2018 Met Gala. “I just enjoy clothes and playing with them and creating new characters,” Zendaya says of her approach to red carpet dressing. “That’s what I find fun about fashion, it’s transformative quality, it’s ability to be like storytelling.”
Now, the ever-shifting style maven is leaning into Parisian chic. Zendaya fronts a new campaign, shot by the iconic Mert and Marcus, for Louis Vuitton’s Capucines handbags. The airy, sun-soaked visuals, captured in the Cote D’Azur region of France, feels like a full-circle moment for Zendaya. “I remember growing up around LV campaigns,” she shares. “There was this one that I loved from the early 2000s of Naomi Campbell, and she’s like sprawled out over a trunk. I can still see it. I can see the image in my head and I remember seeing it in magazines as a kid.”
The 26-year-old also recalls seeing LV monogram-inspired designs frequently on MySpace during the platform’s heyday. “Everyone had the LV-print on their Myspace page,” she says with a laugh. “At least I had that! Let me not try to put that on nobody else. That was definitely me.”
The Capucines handbag, launched in 2013, is showcased in Zendaya’s first campaign for the brand. Crafted with full-grain Taurillon leather, the bags offer understated elegance and versatility—it can be worn as either a top-handle, crossbody, or shoulder bag throughout the day.
“I prefer to have my hands free,” Zendaya says of her bag preference. “So either I have a small bag—like a crossbody, that I can take with me everywhere. As long as it can fit my phone, lip gloss, and a little camera.” When the star does opt for a larger handbag, she adopts a go-big-or-go-home mentality. “I am one of those people that like to fill their bag. I gotta put my computer in it, I gotta put this, I gotta put that. So I’m either going all or nothing. I’ve gotta have options. I need options.”
Zendaya says the Capucines, which come in a variety of sizes, fit the bill. “It’s really beautifully made and durable,” she says. “If I buy something I want it to really last me. I’m not always the most responsible bag owner, so I might be throwing it around, it might get some real wear in it, you know, because I want to really use it, and it feels so sturdy.”
Which makes it a great travel bag, one might presume? “Oh yes, definitely,” Zendaya says on the topic. Which is good—as the star will certainly be making the rounds promoting Challengers and Dune later this year.
Details about both anticipated films are being kept closely under wraps. However, for Challengers—which the actor describes as a “sexy comedy, but set in the world of tennis”— Zendaya became an old pro with the racket. “I knew enough about tennis, but not really. Like, I knew Serena Williams, right? To be able to dive into that world and have to learn it myself, very hands on, was really special. Now I think it’s one of my favorite sports, especially to watch.”
Then, fans will get to see the actor as Chani in Dune 2. The character played a small role in the first film, which was led by Timotheé Chalamet, but is expected to become a co-protagonist in the eagerly awaited sequel. (In short: There will be a lot more Zendaya on screen this time.) “Dune is a beast of its own,” Zendaya says of the big-budget blockbuster series. “It’s really special to be a part of it. Fans have been a part of it, obviously, since before I was even born. I feel a tremendous responsibility to deliver.”
Another work with an equally fervent fan base? Euphoria, in which Zendaya stars as the troubled, complicated teen Rue. It’s a role that’s earned Zendaya the Emmy for Lead Actress not once, but twice. Recently news broke that preparations for season three are underway. On the topic, Zendaya is understandably tight-lipped.
“We haven’t started just yet, but in time,” she says. “There’s not really too much to share there yet, because we haven’t really gotten there yet.”
This story was originally published on Vogue.com.