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Why Disney's New Tween Star Won't Crack Under Pressure

Demi Lavato, Zendaya Coleman Sara De Boer/startraksphoto.com; AP Photo/Tammie Arroyo

If all goes well, Zendaya will not—we repeat, not—have to worry about falling apart under the pressures of being a Disney star.

The 14-year-old Oakland native stars in Shake It Up, the Disney Channel's new breakout hit series about two best friends (Zendaya and Bella Thorne) who land jobs as backup dancers on a local television show. A whopping 6.2 million people tuned into Shake It Up's series premiere last Sunday.

We recently caught up with Zendaya (which means "to give thanks" in the Bantu language native to the Shona people of Zimbabwe) during a break from shooting…

RELATED: Can Selena Gomez avoid a Demi Lovato meltdown?

This is your very first job in Hollywood. What's the best part of it all?
My third audition was for this show, so it's all pretty crazy. This is something that I love to do and it's something I couldn't imagine doing. I couldn't imagine doing any other thing than what I'm doing right now…I guess you could say I'm living my dream.

Whose career do you look up to?
Raven-Symoné is a Disney star I look up to. Other than the fact that she is hilarious, I think she stayed out of trouble and she kept her head on straight. She chose the right path.

How are you going to make sure you choose the right path?
The main thing is to keep my family around. As long as I have my family, they're definitely going to be the ones to say, "Zendaya, you're acting mean right. You need to come back down to earth." As long as I could hold onto them, I think I'll be OK."

Do you want to be a role model for young girls like yourself?
Definitely. I think I can be...someone who someone looks up to just to do the right thing.

That could be a lot of pressure.
It's OK because I know I will do the right thing because of how I've been raised. Hopefully, I won't disappoint anybody.

Have you met Miley Cyrus yet? Is she someone you'd love to sit down with and ask for some advice?
She's been through what I'm going through right now and it would be cool to sit down and talk about, "Hey, how'd you get through this?" or "How did you deal with this or that?"

Who are you dying to meet?
I definitely want to meet Beyoncé. She's pretty awesome. She can sing, dance, act and has a fashion line—she has all the things I want to do.

So you want to take over the world?
[Laughs] Exactly! I'd love to do it all.

FOLLOW: Marc Malkin on Twitter and Facebook

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