tom holland, zendaya, spiderman no way home

Zendaya and Tom Holland.

Tom Holland and Zendaya are no strangers to shutting down public interference when it comes to their relationship. The "Spider-Man" co-stars have already addressed feeling “robbed of privacy” after photos were leaked of Holland kissing Zendaya, before their relationship had been made publicly official.

For the record, Holland is reported to be 5’ 8”. Zendaya, on the other hand, is 5’ 10”. And for some reason, that height difference causes quite a commotion for fans. So much so that both Holland and Zendaya ended up addressing the “issue” while promoting "Spider-Man: No Way Home" on SiriusXM last Friday (Dec 10).

Tom Holland and Zendaya on the "ridiculous"stereotypes about their height difference. www.youtube.com

SiriusXM host Jessica Shaw mentioned that in the previous movie, "Spider-Man: Far From Home," Peter Parker (Holland) and MJ (Zendaya) share an onscreen kiss. No efforts were made to cheat the fact that Zendaya had a couple of inches over her co-star.


“And then it became this thing,” Shaw reflected.

In jest, Holland quickly defended that Zendaya was “not that much taller” than him. One, two inches tops.

He then noted how utterly bewildered he was that people just couldn’t figure out how the kiss could possibly be done. “It must have been so difficult,” he says sarcastically.

Zendaya also added, “it’s a nice sweet moment between them … why not just let it be?”

Shaw pivoted the conversation, saying that the public reaction indicates something much more misogynistic and problematic: the expectation that men should always be taller than women in straight relationships. Anything else just isn’t normal.

“My mom is taller than my dad, my mom’s taller than everyone,” Zendaya rebuked, saying, ”this is normal too.”

“It’s a stupid assumption,” added Holland, as he shared that during Spider-Man screen tests, every girl tested was taller than him.

"I had wondered if that was a decision that Jon [Watts, the director] had made. There was no one tested that was shorter than me,” he told Shaw, adding, “maybe that was a decision Jon Watts made and something he was aware of and wanted to break the stereotype. I think it's great."

Holland, never short on fun quips, also gave the disclaimer “to be fair, I am quite short.”

Despite the polite pushback, Zendaya and Holland remain good sports. As seen in this clip from "The Graham Norton Show," where they joke about how their height difference affected some of the movie's stunts.

As Zendaya explains, "There's a particular stunt where Spider-Man swings us on top of a bridge, and he places me there. … Because of our height difference ... we were attached, so I would land before him. My feet obviously hit the ground before he does.”

Then there's a hilarious demonstration where Zendaya catches a falling Tom Holland. Physics fundamentals are no match for movie magic.

"It’s so nice to be caught for a change!” Holland exclaims.

“Like … it’s not a weird thing for women to be tall,” chorused "No Way Home"’s Jacob Batalon, who also appeared at the SiriusXM interview, adding “it just sucks that it has to be a conversation. Like it can't just be normal.”

Zendaya reflected coolly, "I honestly never thought of it as a thing because my parents were always that way, so I didn't know that people cared."

It most certainly does not have to be a thing. And, as Shaw pointed out, seeing a taller MJ alongside a shorter Peter Parker seems tiny, but it can make a huge impact. Dispelling societal myths on the big screen can help change the mainstream real-life narrative as well. That is, after all, the true power (and great responsibility) of pop culture.

Hopefully with this obsolete construct out of the way, we can all focus on what really matters: that "Spider-Man: No Way Home" will be in theaters in only a few days time.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.

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