The Celeb Teens Whose Style You Covet Open Up About Taking Fashion Risks

03/09/2016 at 09:00 AM ET

As a teenager in Hollywood, it can be intimidating to go through your awkward stage in front of the press. But Zendaya, Willow Smith and Kiernan Shipka seem to have forgone said stage completely — and not only that, each has made a major name for themselves as a style star in her own right, all before the age of 20. As the cover stars of W Magazine‘s April issue, they have a lot to say about where they’ve found their fashion and beauty inspiration and how they’re inspiring their generation.

W MagazineWilly Vanderperre/W Magazine

The youngest risk-taker of the three, 15-year-old Smith, just landed a role as Chanel’s new “ambassadress” — and she’s been so visible in the world of teenage beauty, she wrote a song devoted to her hair. So when she showed up to her cover shoot with safety pins woven into her do, it was bound to set some trends.

“That was my idea,” Smith tells W. “I was in my bathroom yesterday and saw some safety pins on the counter and was just like, ‘Let me stab a dread real quick.’ When I did it, I was, like, ‘Oh, this is dope.’ ”

And what do her parents, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, think of her knack for experimentation? They stopped weighing in half a lifetime ago. “Only when I was 6 or 7,” she explains of the last time they shared their opinions. “I wanted to wear things then that might have been too crazy. But now they know I set my own boundaries.”

RELATED VIDEO: Zendaya’s Tips to Achieve ‘On Fleek’ Eyebrows

But that’s not to say Willow doesn’t turn to her mom for inspiration, particularly from her earlier touring years. “When she was on tour with Ozzfest, she was very raunchy,” Smith admits. “I loved watching her onstage … I think the first song that ever made an impression on me was my mom performing ‘Bleed All Over Me.’ I would sing it over and over.”

Zendaya W MagazineWilly Vanderperre/W Magazine

Zendaya is another star with an outsize influence on beauty trends, not only with her bold hairstyles (and her fearless voice defending her looks) and risk-taking fashion, but also in Barbie doll form. Which is big for the star, who says that didn’t play with the dolls growing up because they didn’t look like her.

“After my Oscar moment, Mattel contacted us,” she tells W. “They specifically wanted to make a Barbie that looked like me, in my exact outfit from the Oscars. I was so excited that Barbie wanted to diversify their brand. Now all little girls can have a Barbie that looks like them. My Barbie is in a box. I never let anyone touch her.”

RELATED PHOTOS: Kiernan Shipka’s Stylish Evolution: See Her Fashion Change On Screen and Off!

Kiernan Shipka W MagazineWilly Vanderperre/W Magazine

For 16-year-old Shipka, who’s landed on People’s Best Dressed list two years in a row, her role on Mad Men is what sparked her mature sense of style.

Mad Men introduced me to the power of fashion,” Shipka tells W about her character on the show. “I realized that style could tell a story … In the last season, Sally wants to impress a boy, so she dresses up.”

Check out W for more, then tell us: What do you think of their senses of style? Tell us below!

— Jillian Ruffo

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Showing 13 comments

Sherry on

If Willow didnt have famous parents, no one would even know who she is. She and her brother are rather homely kids.

What??? on

Sweety your parents should have told you NO a lot more and still should be telling you NO on many things.

Marisa on

Willow is next? What a joke. Willow and her brother are freaky jokes.

DonnaJJJJ on

Ugh, Willow is homely. She’s lucky her “parents” are famous and rich. And who the heck is this Shipka kid? Never heard of her.

Sue on

I must be getting old…referring to your mother as raunchy is not a good thing in my book. Having a daughter, I would never want to set the standard for her at “raunchy”.

Guest on

‘I set my own boundaries’….that right there is what’s wrong with their children and so many others. It’s the parents job to set boundaries. Sad situation.

Gleeisa17 on

Willow seems to be doing fine although I’m sure the haters will be spouting off here. She doesn’t dress inappropriately really, no boobs are hanging out. I’ve heard no stories of her running wild or being on drugs. If fashion for hair and clothes is your only vice and having fun with girlfriends is your entertainment, then that’s great!

Lara17 on

Tell her no on what? Because she likes to dress up in funky clothes? Jealous haters really give themselves away with their nasty comments and ragging on a 15 year old makes them look immature and petty. BTW she is very cute. Saying she is homely just reinforces that you are jealous of her success.

Smithy on

Willow Smith is awful. Can’t stand her personality. Go to your room sweetie and don’t come out until you’re 21.

lola on

She seems more than a little odd as does her brother. Clothes…
I don’t really care as long as everything is not hanging out and she doesn’t dress that way. As a parent you pick your battles and personal style isn’t one, unless inappropriate.

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