Zaya Wade absolutely crushed her runway debut when she appeared in the Miu Miu show at Paris Fashion Week. (Yup, the young model and fashion icon had her debut on the PFW catwalk last week). She carried herself in a way not all 15-year-olds can. She has a fierce and undoubtable confidence that we can only hope to emmulate as adults. It’s clear that so much of this fierceness is innate, some of it she may have had to build over time to block out all the transphobic hate, and based on a recent cover interview with Dazed, some just may come from her relationship with stepmom Gabrielle Union.
Union is an activist, actor, and beauty icon who married Zaya’s dad Dwyane Wade in 2014 after several years of dating. She has been a part of Zaya’s life since she was a toddler and has been teaching her invaluable beauty lessons ever since. Most recently, Zaya said the lesson has been about beauty being internal.
“It’s about being you and expressing yourself the way you want to,” Zaya said. “She tries to teach me that beauty standards are arbitrary and that they don’t mean anything. 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.”
Oh what we would give to have learned and internalized that at age 15.
Zaya told Dazed she feels “most empowered” when she is surrounded by family, and we have to imagine Union’s stellar advice and Wade’s outspoken support have played a role in that. The couple surrounded Zaya with love (and apparently some understandable tears) at fashion week, and they sent so much admiration her way when they were honored with the President’s Awards at the NAACP Image Awards in February for their philanthropic work surrounding gay rights. The two gave an impassioned speech, stressing the need for the Black community to fight for Black LGBTQ people, and sharing how in awe they are of their “baby girl’s” courage.
“[My family] is such a giant support system and have always been there for me,” Zaya said. “No matter what happens, I feel strongest when I’m with them.”
She also has three siblings (Zaire, 21, Xavier, 9, and Kaavia, 4), mom Siohvaughn Funches, and her friends by her side, and she makes it known just how grateful she is to have them.
“Having a big support system is so helpful,” she said. “They will calm you down and [give you] a [greater] point of view, because it’s all about perception. Being able to perceive life in a different way can help better the situation. Or at least go at it head-on with a different point of view.”
These celeb parents are so proud of their LGBTQ kids.
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