"When it happened, I said, ‘Oh no, I hope people don’t try to create something from this,’" the 'Dune' star recalled in a new interview with 'Elle'
In a new interview with Elle for the magazine's September issue, the Euphoria star, 26, admitted that when she saw a video of the moment spreading online, she knew instantly that it was going to become a thing.
"When it happened, I said, ‘Oh no, I hope people don’t try to create something from this,’" she recalled.
The video captured Roach, 44, walking into the Louis Vuitton runway show in March and standing in front of Zendaya, who was already seated in the last seat in the front row. The actress pointed to a seat behind her, appearing to gesture for Roach to sit in the second row.
Fans saw the seemingly awkward scene and speculated that there were issues between the pair, who had been working together for more than 12 years. Later that same month, Roach announced his retirement, only adding more fuel to the rumors.
Speaking to Elle, Zendaya explained that she and Roach had gotten stuck in traffic on the way to the show. Once they arrived, Zendaya was quickly seated, while the Louis Vuitton team tried to locate Roach's assigned seat. When the Spider-Man: No Way Home star pointed to the row behind her, she was actually pointing to her assistant Darnell's seat. Some fans saw the clip and assumed Roach was offended by Zendaya's seeming dismissal of him.
“We’re so used to sitting together that he didn’t know where to go,” Zendaya explained. “But obviously, people want to assume the worst of the situation, which is not always easy to deal with and hurtful.”
Zendaya's recollection of the incident matches Roach's. Shortly after the video went viral, the celebrity stylist attempted to squash the rumors, explaining what actually happened at the fashion show. "We left on time, but I don't know if our driver went the wrong way, but we got stuck in traffic," he told New York Magazine's The Cut back in March.
"The way we came in, it was a long walk actually to get your seat. It was a long walk. So it was a lot of anxiety, because Zendaya is really respectful and she doesn't like people to have to wait on her, and so it was just anxiety," continued Roach, who has also worked with Céline Dion, Mary J. Blige andAriana Grande.
He said staffers were "shuffling us as fast as possible" to their seats, and when they got there, only one seat remained empty for Zendaya.
"In my mind, my seat was next to her. So when I got there and it wasn't, you know, it wasn't a problem, but there was nobody to tell me where my actual seat was," he said.
He continued, "And so I was standing there — I was really just kind of confused. And remember, we had just made a mad dash to get there, so it's anxiety, like, you sweating. I got this suit on, the hair, and we hot, you know, I was trying to make it."
Roach said it was difficult to see his client being blamed for what was an innocent, no-drama situation. "That became really tough, because it made people think that Zendaya wasn't taking care of me and wasn't making sure I was taken care of," he told The Cut.
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Roach told Elle that he and Zendaya remain as solid as ever, and confirmed that he's now stepped into an official role as the Golden Globe winner's creative director. "Our relationship is like family, so I don’t think I’m going anywhere — and even if I wanted to, she wouldn’t let me," he insisted.
Roach also maintained that his longtime client and collaborator has been very supportive of his success and upward career trajectory. “I’m grateful that people like the work and understand the story. And I’m grateful for her giving me the opportunity to shine,” he said.
“It’s not often that such a big superstar like that is very generous and understanding when someone wants to basically step out. She’s been one of my biggest supporters.”
Indeed, Zendaya has continued to work closely with the image architect. He styled her red carpet look for a Bulgari jewelry event in May, as well as her debut Louis Vuitton campaign in the spring.
“I ride super hard for my team, especially for people I love,” Zendaya told Elle. “[Law's] involved in every fashion contract, everything I do. If I have an opportunity where he can come with me, he’s always going to be there. He’s always been my creative director in a sense, and he continues to fill that role, because it’s more than just clothes on a red carpet. It’s a bigger thing.”
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