Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade watch their daughter walk the runway at Paris Fashion Week.
There’s nothing better than making your parents proud, no matter how old you are, and Zaya Wade is doing just that. The 15-year-old made her runway debut in Miu Miu’s 2023 Fall/Winter show during this year’s Paris Fashion Week. Wade sported an olive green dress and jacket, as well as a brown leather handbag and shoes.
Her father, Dwyane Wade, and stepmother Gabrielle Union happily sat first row as the aspiring model went down the runway. The couple, both dressed in all-black ensembles, battled to keep their excitement in check as they watched their daughter dominate the runway.
Following the concert, the family took to social media to commemorate the memorable occasion. Wade embraces his daughter in a strong hug while beaming from ear to ear in a video uploaded on the former Miami Heat player’s Instagram story. Following the news posts, the pleased father posted a TikTok video titled “POV: Hyping Zaya’s first runway appearance,” which showed the model’s incremental rehearsals leading up to the big day.
Zaya took to Instagram with a simple slideshow post captioned “[email protected],” under which she received many congratulatory comments from friends, family, and followers.
“If I was in the crowd, you for sure gonna break that look & laugh,” her big brother Zaire Wade commented.
“To witness your grace is something @zayawade I am Proud of you,” her father added under the post.
Zaya’s parents are clearly among her most ardent fans, especially following Union’s poignant speech at the NAACP Image Awards. Last month as the pair received the President’s Award “in appreciation of extraordinary achievement and distinguished public service,” Wade and Union professed their admiration of Zaya.
“As your father, all I’ve wanted to do is get it right. I’ve sat back and watched how gracefully you’ve taken on public scrutiny. And even though it’s not easy, I watched you walk out of the house every morning. I admire how you handle the ignorance in our world […] As your father, my job isn’t to create a version of myself that directs your future. My role is to be a facilitator to your hopes, your wishes, your dreams,” said Wade during his speech.
Union followed her husband’s comments with an important message about the lack of support for the LGBTQ+ community. In a very passionate speech, she posed the question: “will we fight for some, or we fight for all of our people?”
“Let’s just name a couple of hard truths. The intersection of Black rights and the rights of the LGBTQIA, trans, and gender non-conforming people continues to be rough. Even as we demand equality at the top of our lungs, we consistently fail to extend our advocacy to protect some of our most vulnerable among us,” she asserted.
The Wade Family Foundation, which “provides relief to underrepresented populations in need, working to achieve racial justice and LGBTQ equality,” got the honor for the couple’s advocacy work.
“We honestly don’t approach this work as activists or leaders as much as we do this as parents. Parents who love our children and will do whatever the hell we can to keep them seen and secure, and safe. This is a conversation worth having in ways that can actually build bridges. That doesn’t fan the flames of hatred or division. That doesn’t enable lawmakers or justice systems to look the other way when Black trans people are under attack. They don’t drive our young people to hate themselves or harm themselves.”
Since Zaya came out as transgender in 2020, her father and stepmother have made headlines for doing the work to protect and celebrate the teen as she lives in her truth.
“Being my full authentic self feels like freedom. Being out and open and truthful about who I am to myself and others is just freeing,” Zaya told Logo in a 2022 campaign. “It’s a beautiful feeling to have and hold and to be able to share with the rest of the world.”