Robin Williams' Daughter Grew Up To Be Stunning

Zelda Williams may have, at one time, simply been known as the daughter of comedy great Robin Williams, but the young star is definitely establishing herself separate from her father's legacy. The actress has several roles under her belt and is making a name for herself in Hollywood. It's tempting to compare her to her famous father, but Williams is proving that, while she may have inherited his talent, she's got her own style and identity.

Williams isn't just an actress — she's also a role model determined to change the world. She's involved in many causes, from championing mental health awareness to carrying on her dad's charity work. She's got loads of talent, but has also grown into a graceful and compassionate young woman who is forging her own path to fame, comparable to her iconic dad. Keep reading to find out more about the stunning Zelda Williams.

Growing up on set

Being the daughter of one of the most celebrated actors of all time gave Williams a pretty magical childhood. It's not surprising that she would later go on to become an actress herself, since she practically grew up on set. "I got to be on sets where there were no green screens," she told Smashing Interviews. "Mermaids were actually models that were sitting in a pool with mermaid tails on. When you're a child, that's the most amazing thing because you're literally seeing and being able to touch these incredible, fantastical stories that otherwise you'd only get to read."

Williams didn't just love the magic of seeing stories come to life on set — she loved the stories themselves. "I loved fantasy books growing up," she said. "It taught me the only way I was going to get to be in one of those fantasy books or live that fairy tale was to do this."

Yes, she's a fan of The Legend of Zelda

When you're named after a legendary video game character, people are going to constantly ask how you feel about being stuck with the moniker. Fortunately, Williams doesn't mind that her brother, Zach, suggested the name Zelda after the star of The Legend of Zelda games. Her parents, being fans of the game series, also liked the name. "I have enjoyed it thoroughly," Williams told MCV. "I think it is fantastic, and it makes me laugh that it was a whole family decision. It could have ended up a lot worse.

Williams grew up to be a major fan of the games herself and has even capitalized on her name to raise money for good causes. In 2017, she played in a live stream marathon of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for eight hours to raise money for the Brain and Behavior Institute, an organization which focuses on mental health research. 

Her parents didn't want her to be a child star

Zelda Williams told Backstage that she knew when she was 10 that she wanted to act, but her parents weren't totally on board — they insisted that she finish high school before pursuing it full time. "I'm grateful my parents said, 'Absolutely no way,' and staved off my curiosity and interest," she said.

Once Williams was older, her parents were supportive of her chosen career. Her dad advised her to always have a good attitude, and this is advice that Williams took to heart. "He said for me to be early to set and the last person to leave if I have to... even if you're having a really hard day and everything is falling apart," she told Smashing Interviews. "He said that it's an actor's place to not become part of that problem. You have to step back and find help or offer to help and make people happy if you can."

Why she was hesitant to play a trans character

One of Williams' most iconic roles is that of Drew on the horror drama Dead of Summer. Drew is a transgender man, and Williams played the part to perfection, but she almost didn't take the role because she was concerned that she would take an opportunity away from a transgender actor. "Truthfully, when I went in for my first audition, I thought I'd talked myself out of a job because I said, 'You know, politically speaking, I'm not sure you're doing the right thing by auditioning cisgender actresses,'" she told Backstage.

While Williams brought up a good point, the producers had a good reason for wanting a cisgender actress to play Drew. The show utlizes flashbacks, which shows Drew presenting as both male and female. "That is a difficult thing to ask of someone who is [transgender and] so proudly transitioning... to put on prosthetics and go backward. In Drew's case, he is living as a man, but is still physically female. So it offered challenges that I understand why they considered me."

You'll never see her do standup

Funnyman Robin Williams was known for his quick wit and hilarious voices. He got his start in comedy clubs, but you won't see his daughter treading that path. She may be following his footsteps into show business, but she's doing it her way. "Standup is a realm that I can't even imagine taking part in simply because — I can't even think of what would be a good example of what that would be like," she told Backstage. "I mean, trying to be a gladiator when your dad was Hercules? What would be the point? It would be like gloriously falling on a spear just so everyone around you could say, 'Oh, well she tried!' I'm happy doing what I do."

It's understandable that Williams would be nervous about being compared to her father (who wouldn't be?) but we're betting that she could hold her own if she ever changes her mind and decides to give comedy a try.

This is how she celebrates her dad's legacy

The world felt the impact of Robin Williams' death, but the sadness experienced by his fans was only a fraction of what his loved ones went through. Williams was devastated when she lost her father. In 2016, on the second anniversary of her father's death, she encouraged her Twitter followers to honor her dad by paying it forward. She urged them to support his favorite charities, including The Reeve Foundation and The Challenged Athletes Foundation.

That same year, Williams posted on Instagram about how she tries to carry on her father's legacy by supporting charities that champion his causes. She helped Freedom Service Dogs, an organization that rescues and trains dogs to act as service dogs. She addressed her post to her father, writing: "Thought you'd get a kick out of furry, four legged friends helping change the world, one warrior in need at a time."

Here's how she prioritizes her mental health

Williams has struggled with depression, as did her father. She has been forthcoming about her experiences, and also works to raise awareness about mental health. "I think people are finally aware of [mental health] in a much more visceral way," she told Teen Vogue. 

One of the ways that the actress prioritizes her mental health is by pouring her energy into her work. "I'm writing, and directing, and just keeping busy, which is nice," she said. "Probably, the most important thing in terms of just trying to navigate, and moving forward into adulthood, is staying busy."

She added that being able to do what she loves puts her in a "privileged position," but that it's important for people to try to find something that makes them happy. She said that everyone should "find something in their lives that they like even if their job is banal and tedious, because liking what I do has made my life a lot better."

These are her Hollywood inspirations

It's clear that Williams looks up to her dad and has been inspired by him, but she also has some other Hollywood role models who have influenced her career — from Hollywood's golden age, as well as the present. "There are so many great actors," she told Refinery29. "Right now it feels like all of these incredibly inspiring actors are alive at the same time, where previously it felt like there were maybe a handful in each generation. There are so many right now."

One of her biggest inspirations, though, was famous decades ago.  "I've always looked up to Lauren Bacall," she said. "It was actors like that who approached a different scope of women. ... Her wearing pants, when everyone else was in corsets and skirts — I loved that."

"I love Woody Harrelson," she said, adding him to her list of Hollywood greats. She went so far as to say that she'd like "to be the female Woody Harrelson."

Her perfect food day will make your mouth water

Not only is Williams a talented actress, writer, and director, but she's also a pretty dedicated foodie. She described her perfect food day to The New Potato and it's pretty epic. Williams warns that if you decide to follow her lead that you'll need need to indulge in some "digestion napping."

Her ideal food day starts with a homemade turkey bacon and avocado sandwich on an english muffin, garnished with sriracha mayo. Lunch would be takeout with her dogs at the park, "either a carnitas burrito from Gordo's in [San Francisco], or mee goreng noodles from Banana Leaf in [Los Angeles]. Pico De Gallo and Tapatio with chips for an afternoon snack." 

Williams' culinary adventure would end "with either the Beef Tendon Curry from Night Market Song, or Chicken Tikka Masala for dinner, with a glass of Hibiki japanese whisky and a Donut Friend PB&J donut for dessert." Intimidated, yet? "It's like doing a triathlon at the digestive Olympics, but my god is it worth it!" said Williams.

The best advice she ever received

In addition to being a talented actress, Williams is also branching out into writing and directing. She told Refinery29 that she's been fortunate enough to have many wonderful mentors who have guided her throughout her career. One of them, writer and director Scott Derrickson, gave her a piece of advice that has been particularly influential. "He said 'One of the only problems you have as an actress is that no one is going to write you,'" she said. Williams explained that she has always been "particularly odd" and difficult to cast, and Derrickson told her to rise to the challenge.

"He said there's no reason why you have to wait for permission... you can write more complicated women," she said. "The difference is, you're complex, and very few characters are." That advice stuck with Williams and has inspired her writing, something she is constantly doing. "It's like meditation for me," she said.