Zendaya Says Her 'Euphoria' Character Rue Has Taught Her Empathy

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Lindsay Cronin

Zendaya is learning from her character in Euphoria.

Ahead of the upcoming second season of the HBO show, the 25-year-old actress spoke to Interview magazine with her co-star, Colman Domingo, about learning empathy.

“The show’s intention, for all of us who make it, is to open up the door to empathy for another person’s experience,” Zendaya revealed. “Rue has helped me do that, tremendously."

Zendaya landed the role of Rue on the hit series ahead of season one, which premiered in June 2019

Understanding Addiction Through 'Euphoria'

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According to Zendaya, she didn't understand the life of an addict before she met with the creator of the series, Sam Levinson. So, as she took on the role, and the experiences, of Rue, she experienced an awakening of sorts.

"Before meeting Sam [Levinson, Euphoria’s creator], before playing Rue, I didn’t understand in grave detail the experience of what it means to be an addict. Nor did I feel I had enough—maybe some, but not enough—empathy for that experience and how it is, like [Domingo's] character Ali says, a degenerative disease,” she explained.

Learning Empathy Through 'Euphoria'

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In addition to learning about addiction herself, Zendaya went on to reveal that she hopes viewers of Euphoria will have the same experience as they watch, learning empathy for the addicts they may have, or come across, in their own lives.

“My hope is that the show makes somebody who has either gone through addiction, or knows somebody who has, feel they are less alone in their experiences and that maybe it gives somebody the lexicon to communicate with their loved one who needs help," she stated.

'Euphoria' Sparking Much-Needed Conversations

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Zendaya went on to say that she also hopes Euphoria viewers will gain the "ability for that loved one to say, ‘Listen, this is how I feel. I couldn’t explain it to you, but just watch this and you’ll understand where I’m coming from.'”

"Because the cool thing about Rue is, she makes bad decisions and she hurts a lot of people, but we still love her and we still root for her, and that’s a feeling that I hope people will take on with their own loved ones or other people suffering from addiction," she continued.

'Euphoria' Making a Difference

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According to Domingo, he's already seen a positive response to Euphoria.

"I don’t look at Twitter that much because I think it’s like going into the garbage can, and you’ve got to be careful what you’re going to pick out of it. But sometimes you find a gem. And this one dude, he sent me a DM saying, 'Thank you so much for that episode. I didn’t feel so alone anymore. And I feel like I can go on another day,'" he recalled.