Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union have celebrated their 15-year-old transgender daughter Zaya’s catwalk debut at Paris Fashion week.
Zaya Wade stole the show in her olive green ensemble on Tuesday – just weeks after the teenager legally changed her name and gender after coming out as trans aged 12.
Zaya was supported by her father Dwayne Wade, 41, and stepmother Gabrielle Union, 50, who have championed the up-and-coming model ever since she came out as transgender in 2019.
Zaya’s birth mother Siohvaughn Funches-Wade was not in attendance, after she launched a petition to stop her transgender from legally changing her name and gender and claimed that the child was being pressured financially to make the decision.
That petition failed after Wade, Funches-Wade’s ex-husband, argued in court that he had the ‘full authority’ to ‘make decisions on behalf’ of Zaya when he was awarded custody of his two children in 2011 after they divorced.
And on Tuesday, the NBA star and his wife Union beamed with pride as they watched Zaya make her catwalk debut.
First fashion show! Zaya Wade, 15, made her runway debut on Tuesday when she rocked the catwalk for Miu Miu during Paris Fashion Week
Proud parents: Zaya was supported by her father Dwyane Wade, 41, and stepmother Gabrielle Union, 50, who have championed the up-and-coming stunner ever since she came out as transgender back in 2019 at the age of 12. The couple were accompanied by their stylist Thomas Christos Kikis
Zaya (seen far right with her brother and mom Siohvaughn Funches-Wade) came out as transgender to her family in 2019, when she was 12 years old
Both Wade and Union posted footage of Zaya’s big day to their respective Instagram accounts, captioning their posts with two simple words: ‘She’s arrived.’
The couple received an outpouring of love and congratulations from Hollywood and the fashion industry.
Supermodel Gigi Hadid sent crowns and lovestruck emojis, while Oscar winner Viola Davis declared, ‘Perfect!!! Beautiful.’
The NBA star and A-list actress were joined by their stylist, Thomas Christos Kikis, who gushed about the moment on Instagram.
‘Tears in my eyes as I watched @zayawade make her debut at @miumiu today, wrote Kikis, captioning his own video montage and slideshow.
‘Thank you @dwyanewade for your endless trust in my vision. and thank you @zayawade for showing me what it means to believe in yourself.’
Wade and Union accepted the prestigious President’s Award for their support of the LGBTQ+ community last month at the 54th Annual NAACP Awards.
Delivering a powerful speech, the former basketball player took addressed his daughter from the stage, praising her for handling the ‘ignorance in our world.’
‘Zaya,’ he began, ‘as your father, all I’ve wanted to do is get it right. I have sat back and watched how graceful you have taken on the public scrutiny and even though it’s not easy, I watched you walk out of the house every morning as yourself.’
On the rise: The up-and-coming fashion model – who was granted a legal name and gender change last month – stole the show in her olive green ensemble
A-list mom and dad: Clad in chic black attire, the two parents looked like the ultimate power couple as they beamed with pride in the front row
Sweet: The NBA star shared a special moment with his daughter after her successful show. Both Wade and Union posted video footage of Zaya’s big day to their respective Instagram accounts, captioning their posts with two simple words: ‘She’s arrived’
Emotional day: The former basketball player and A-list actress were joined by their stylist, Thomas Christos Kikis, who gushed about Zaya’s big day on Instagram. ‘Tears in my eyes as I watched @zayawade make her debut at @miumiu today, wrote Kikis, captioning his own video montage and slideshow
Fashionista: Zaya was later seen in a chic blazer and Prada loafers at the Miu Miu show afterparty
Championing their daughter: Dwyane Wade and his wife Gabrielle Union accepted the President’s Award for their support of the LGBTQ+ community last month at the 54th Annual NAACP Awards
Dwyane continued: ‘I admire how you have handled the ignorance in our world. I admire that you face it every day. To say that your village is proud of you is an understatement.’
The proud father went on to say, ‘Thank you for showing me that there is more than just one way to communicate effectively. You taught me that communication with my mouth isn’t enough.
‘I have to also communicate with my two ears and my two eyes. As your father, my job isn’t to create a version of myself or direct your future. My role is to be a facilitator to your hopes, your wishes, your dreams.’
Concluding his remarks, the 13-time NBA All-Star said, ‘Zaya, you have made me a better human just simply by being who you were born to be. Our baby girl, Zaya Wade. Thank you for showing the world what courage looks like. I am proud that I was chosen to stand in place as your father. Thank you so much to the NAACP for this incredible honor.’
In August, Wade filed a petition to allow Zaya to legally change her gender, and name from Zion Malachi Airamis Wade to Zaya Malachi Airamis Wade. Zaya has been going by the name of Zaya for two years.
Funches-Wade, who was married to Wade from 2002 to 2007, previously said in court documents that she believed Wade ‘may be pressuring our child to move forward with the name and gender change in order to capitalize on the financial opportunities that he has received from companies.’
Wade explained that Zaya later told him and Union that she knew was transgender since she was three years old, but that it took years of doing ‘research’ for her to be able to voice it to her loved ones. Pictured: Zaya is seen with her dad, step-mom, and half sister
Siohvaughn Funches-Wade had asked a judge to not allow Zaya (pictured together) to change her name or gender until she turned 18
After their divorce was finalized in 2011, Dwyane obtained full custody of the children. Pictured: Funches-Wade with Zaya as a baby
In her filed opposition, she said she wants Zaya to wait until she’s 18 before changing her name and alleging that Wade was pushing for the name change for business.
‘I have concerns that (Dwyane) may be pressuring our child to move forward with the name and gender change in order to capitalize on the financial opportunities that he has received from companies,’ she said in her legal filing.
She also cited a conversation in April during which she claims Dwyane told her ‘that a lot of money had been already made and that additional money will be made in relation to our child’s name and gender issue.’
‘(Dwyane) told me that he intended to make our child very famous due to the name and gender issue and also informed me that there would be endorsements/contracts associated therewith,’ she claimed.
Wade hit back at his ex on Instagram at the time, slamming her claims that he’s exploiting their daughter, accusing her of ‘hurting their children’ with her lawsuit, and reminding the world of their bitter 2011 divorce battle, which resulted in him being awarded sole custody of both their children.
Last month, Funches-Wade’s petition was refused and Zaya was granted permission to change her name and gender.
Ever since Zaya came out to her family – and then to the world – she has had Wade’s full-fledged support. Not only did he lovingly accept his daughter’s sexual identify, but he – along with Union – set out on a journey to learn as much as he could about the LGBTQ+ community.
Wade first revealed that Zaya was transgender to the public in February 2020; she has since launched a major career for herself as a model and has become a budding social media star – gaining more than 603,000 followers on her Instagram account.
Wade explained that Zaya later told him and Union that she knew was transgender since she was three years old, but that it took years of doing ‘research’ for her to be able to voice it to her loved ones.