Zaya Wade is officially a cover girl.
Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union’s 15-year-old daughter stars on Dazed’s latest issue, marking her first time fronting a fashion magazine.
The teen model, who came out as transgender in 2020, was dressed almost exclusively in Miu Miu for her cover shoot; fitting, as she made her runway debut for the label during Paris Fashion Week earlier this month.
“My relationship with fashion has really evolved over the years. It started out as, ‘Oh, my parents are super fashionable, and I want to dress up and be as fashionable as them,’” Zaya told the glossy.
“But, as time has passed and I’ve become more integrated into the fashion world, it’s become a really important part of expressing myself and my identity. Whether I’m wearing a dress for winter formal or wearing a suit for a shoot, it’s just a way to level up my iconic-ness, I feel.”
Zaya also shared the best beauty advice she’s ever received from stepmom Union.
“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,” the teenage style star explained.
“[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.”
Those pointers seem to have served Zaya well thus far; in recent months, she’s scored campaign for Tiffany & Co. and Puma, and was even dressed by Rodarte for her winter formal in January.
But Zaya was quick to note that growing up trans in the spotlight has come with “highs and lows.”
“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 positives of having such an inclusive platform completely outweigh all of the negativity online, which my support system has enabled me to filter out,” she told Dazed.
“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.”
Zaya was granted a legal name and gender change in February, following attempts by her biological mother (and Wade’s ex-wife), Siohvaughn Funches, to block the move.
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And the model said she deeply appreciates having Wade and Union’s backing — which has included everything from supportive statements to color-coordinated red carpet looks — as she navigates her life in the public eye.
“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 shared.
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