Zendaya attends the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018, in New York City.
Zendaya attends the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018, in New York City.
Photo: Jamie McCarthy (Getty Images)

“What do you think Zendaya will wear?”

As of late, that’s the question we’ve become accustomed to asking before red-carpet events. In the past few years, the ingenue has matured into a bona fide style star, frequently winning our “best dressed” votes at parties, film premieres and even this year’s Academy Awards.

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With her boundary-pushing style, supermodel looks and incredible style squad—including “image architect” Law Roach and celebrity tress transformer Ursula Stephen (also famed for creating many of Rihanna’s most iconic looks)—Zendaya has quickly proved herself a fashion force to be reckoned with. Monday night’s Met Gala was further proof of the star’s style prowess as she channeled the theme “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” into none other than storied martyr and religious warrior Joan of Arc.

Illustration for article titled ‘I Was Joan of Arc in a Former Life’: How Zendaya Was Transformed for the 2018 Met Gala
Photo: Neilson Barnard (Getty Images)

Donning a red wig cropped and styled by Stephen into a modern textured blunt bob with bangs, the starlet had the perfect look to pair with her silver armorlike gown by Versace, as Stephen explained in an email:

Zendaya’s look was inspired by the power of Joan of Arc and opulence of Versace, who dressed her this evening. The gown looks like armor and chainmail, so we knew we needed a strong beauty look as well. We have been talking about going with a red look for almost a year now, so we were excited when tonight was the perfect fit.

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The pop of color was definitely an unexpected twist on Zendaya’s typically long and lush brunette locks, and the look was far and away the most original interpretation of the gala’s theme. So aside from that incredible gown, how did Stephen, a brand ambassador for Unilever products, transform the ingenue into a fierce religious icon? She graciously gave us the scoop:

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It was edgy and unexpected, but Zendaya’s daring cemented her status as one of the best looks of the night, and one that grows on us a little more each time we revisit it. These are the kinds of risks we love seeing young Hollywood take, and they make fashion even more fun. Besides, what better befits a young actress on the rise than being completely in character?

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Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. Minneapolis born, Chicago bred, New York built. Nuance is her superpower.

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