In March, Zaya Wade made headlines with her runway debut at Miu Miu in Paris, marking the beginning of her modeling journey. Now gracing the cover of Homme Girls’ latest issue, the 11th-grader is proving that she’s a force to be reckoned on and off the catwalk.
Despite her love for fashion, Zaya is also a dedicated student with a keen interest in science.
Acknowledging her nerdy side, Wade admits to a childhood fascination with Greek Mythology that has since evolved into a full-blown obsession with science. With aspirations to become a scientist, she confidently asserts, “I’m a STEM girl, and I’m also a model. It’s not one or the other.”
Navigating the unique challenges of being in the public eye, Zaya credits her parents, retired NBA legend Dwayne Wade and movie-star stepmother Gabrielle Union, for their unwavering support. The couple has been vocal advocates since Zaya came out as trans in 2020.
Opening up about her decision to embrace life as a public figure, the 16-year-old shares that it was a carefully considered choice.
“I spent a few months deciding if I really wanted to be out there, and at first it was scary.” However, she recognized the potential impact her visibility could have on other young LGBTQ individuals. “I hope that I’m that for a lot of people,” she says.
While passionate about being an advocate for the trans community, Zaya Wade emphasizes that her identity is multifaceted.
“A lot of people seem to project that being trans is my only identity,” she says. “And that’s it. Like I came out as trans and there’s nothing else about me. It’s reductive,” she chides. “I would like for people to understand that I’m multifaceted just like every other human.”
Looking ahead, Zaya is hopeful about her future as a scientist in the fashion world. She sees fashion as more than just clothes on a runway.
“I look up to the whole fashion community and I see what we are capable of. A lot of people tend to think it’s just a bunch of people walking in clothes,” she says. “But I think — especially with trans models — it’s more than just that. It’s about representation of culture and history.”
Ultimately, fashion serves as a means for her to express herself. “That’s what fashion is to me: coming together and celebrating all the things that you can celebrate.”