Actress and singer Zendaya insists her main purpose in life is to share important messages with her peers.

The 19-year-old rose to fame on Disney Channel series Shake It Up and, while she loves to perform, the star believes she can't be selfish with her fame.

"I don't just sing, dance, and act because I love it," she told the US edition of Glamour. "You have to have a purpose, and mine is to connect with the world, to get across messages that are important. I'd much rather be known for leaving a little stamp of positivity on one person's life than for the last project that I did."

One of the issues close to Zendaya's heart is raising awareness about AIDS and this summer, the star plans to travel to the International AIDS Conference in South Africa to give a speech as part of her ongoing work with the UNAIDS organisation.

However, Zendaya is just as keen to point out the virus can strike anyone in any country and encourages people of all ages to get regular health checks.

"AIDS can affect everyone," she explained. "If I can make it cool for young people to buy a certain handbag, maybe I can make it cool to be safe, protect yourself, get tested - to love yourself."

Zendaya's fans see the star as a real inspiration, and the teen doesn't take this for granted, doing her best to stand up for young people's rights whenever she can.

"It's so amazing to watch a generation of women who are becoming more comfortable in their skin, in their hair, in themselves," she smiled. "It's a beautiful thing."