In this Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017 file photo, Zendaya arrives at the Teen Choice Awards at the Galen Center, in Los Angeles. Picture: AP

Hollywood star Zendaya has admitted she's only realised the "power" of her own voice over the last 12 months.

The 21-year-old actress - who has emerged as one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood following her starring role in 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' - claims to have recognised her own influence as her social media following has grown.

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The outspoken star - who has 10 million followers on Twitter - explained: "I can genuinely say that I'm not the same person I was a year ago. As my social platforms grew, I realised that my voice was so much more important than I had originally thought. 

"I think if every young person understood the power of their voice, things would be a lot different. And it's becoming more popular to be outspoken."

She also claimed to have benefited from being a lighter-skinned actress in Hollywood.

Speaking to Glamour magazine, Zendaya reflected: "Can I honestly say I would be in the position I'm in if I weren't a lighter-skinned black woman? No."

Zendaya said, too, that there's still a lot of work that needs to be done to encourage more minorities into the entertainment industry.

She said: "A lot of people who aren't people of colour can't quite understand what it's like to grow up and not see yourself in mainstream media. And you know, there is so much work left to be done."

Meanwhile, Zendaya recently admitted her life is "too stressful" to drink.

The actress is able to drink now she's turned 21, but she revealed she has no plans "to start throwing 'em back" because she wants to be in "control of herself and her decisions."

Writing on her blog in September, Zendaya shared: "Today I turn 21! Holla!!! But just because I'm now the legal drinking age, doesn't mean I'm going to start throwing 'em back. I don't plan to start drinking.

"My life is too stressful to need help with relaxing by having a cocktail. This industry is way too nuts for me to not be in control of myself and my decisions, so I just don't want to introduce drinking! Plus, I don't want drinking to become a vice. Why try something if you don't need it?! (sic)"