Zaya Wade reveals the best advice she’s received from step-mother Gabrielle Union

Zaya Wade reveals the best advice she’s received from step-mother Gabrielle Union

Zaya Wade has shared the best advice she’s received from her step-mother, Gabrielle Union.

The 15-year-old model, who came out publicly as transgender in February 2020, was recently unveiled as Dazed magazine’s cover star for its spring 2023 issue. The cover story comes just one week after Zaya made her runway debut at the Miu Miu fashion show at Paris Fashion Week. Speaking to the magazine, the daughter of former NBA player Dwyane Wade spoke about her gender identity, fashion, and growing up in the public eye all while balancing high school.

When asked what beauty and self-love advice she’s been given by her step-mother, actor Gabrielle Union, Zaya replied: “The lesson has changed over time, but more recently it’s that beauty is in yourself. It’s about being you and expressing yourself the way you want to.”

“She tries to teach me that beauty standards are arbitrary and that they don’t mean anything,” she continued. “They don’t matter any more; what people thought was the standard is not, and just that being myself is the best technique out there.”

Both Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union have been vocal supporters of their daughter Zaya after she first came out publicly as transgender when she was 12 years old. Since then, the basketball star has spoken openly about his support for the LGBTQ+ community. The couple previously thanked their teenage daughter “for leading them on their journey” as proud parents of a transgender child and teaching them about the LGBTQ+ community.

“I think it’s not my job, but it’s my honour to continue and further my family’s education and appreciation for the entire LBGTQ+ community as we grow together,” Zaya said, when asked about her family’s commitment to learning more about the LGBTQ+ community as a family. “As our understanding of acceptance has broadened over the past couple of years, we have made the strides to keep ourselves educated and combat the ignorance.”

As for when Zaya feels the most empowered, the teenage model said that she feels at her best when she’s around her family. Wade and Union, who were married in 2014, are parents to daughter Kaavia James, three. In addition to Zaya, Union is also a step-mother to Wade’s two children: 21-year-old Zaire and nine-year-old Xavier.

“They are such a giant support system and have always been there for me. No matter what happens, I feel strongest when I’m with them,” she said.

When Zaya made her runway debut at Paris Fashion Week last Tuesday, both her father and her step-mother were seen sitting front row in matching black sunglasses to cheer her on. The high schooler went on to share several photos and videos from the Miu Miu show on Instagram, including a sweet clip of her athlete father squeezing her tight after she walked the runway.

“To witness your grace is something @zayawade I am proud of you,” he commented on his daughter’s post.

Most recently, the parents have continued to support their transgender daughter in the fight to legally change her name. Last year, Wade responded to his ex-wife’s court petition objecting to legally change the name and gender of their daughter Zaya. The former Miami Heat player’s ex-wife, Siovaughn Funches-Wade, requested in a court filing last November that the 15-year-old wait until the “age of majority” to legally change her name and gender identity.

According to court documents obtained by People, Funches-Wade also claimed that the athlete is “positioned to profit” from Zaya’s name and gender change through various companies and marketing opportunities “including but not limited to deals with Disney.”

In an Instagram post, Wade called his ex-wife’s allegations “serious and harmful” to his children, saying he was “very disappointed that she continuously [finds] ways of centering herself and HER needs, without regard to her children.”

“No one in our house would ever force Zaya or any of our children to do anything against their will, much less force an identity on them,” Wade added. “This isn’t a game for my family and definitely not for Zaya.”

Following the public dispute, Zaya Wade was legally granted ​​an official name change and assignment of gender last month, according to People.