Now that Zaya Wade, 15, has made her Paris Fashion Week debut, she graced the cover of Dazed magazine and opened up about her family’s support after her legal gender and name change on Mar. 15. The brunette beauty is the daughter of former NBA star Dwyane Wade, 41, and the stepdaughter of his wife, Gabrielle Union, 50. “When my family surrounds me,” Zaya said of when she feels the most “empowered.” She went on to say, “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.”
The model, who came out as transgender in 2020 at the age of 12, went on to explain how she wants to “further” her family’s “education” and “appreciation” for the LGBTQ+ community. “So many big changes have happened over the last couple of years with me, but also just in general,” the 15-year-old added. “I think it’s not my job, but it’s my honor to continue and further my family’s education and appreciation for the entire LBGTQ+ community as we grow together.”
Later in the interview, Zaya revealed that growing up as the child of a famous father was not always a positive experience. “There are some highs and some lows,” the daughter of Dwyane’s ex, Siohvaughn Funches, shared. “I mean, a lot of attention equals a lot more hate, a lot of transphobia, and [there is] a lot of pressure on me, but I’m also able to reach more people.” The massive platform she has, Instagram for example, where she boasts over 663K followers, does have some positive aspects.
“The positives of having such an inclusive platform completely outweigh all of the negativity online, which my support system has enabled me to filter out,” Zaya said. “It has allowed me to let in the positivity and distribute it to all of the trans people in the world who need a voice and give them a platform to get inspired to live with themselves without being afraid.” Last month, Zaya had her name and gender legally changed and the changes were approved by a Los Angeles judge, per TMZ.
The 41-year-old proud father-of-four recently boasted about Zaya for Paris Fashion Week and for her winter formal dance in January. “She’s arrived @miumiu,” he captioned the video of his daughter walking the Miu Miu show on Mar. 7. And later, Dwayne and Gabrielle posed alongside Zaya for her winter formal dance on Jan. 29. “Winter Formal Supporting each other for life’s big moments is key. All the nerves, all the anxiety, all the fear… With loved ones by your side, no matter the challenge, we 10 toes down. Always,” he captioned the carousel of photos. Dwayne’s kids include: Zaire, 21, Xavier Zechariah, 9, and his daughter with Gabrielle, Kaavia James Union Wade, 4.