Zaya Wade interviewed Michelle Obama for a virtual Q&A session on Thursday, where the former First Lady hailed her as “an amazing role model.”
“I’m meeting an idol. I’m literally meeting an idol,” said Zaya. “[I’ve been] preparing for this moment for so long.” Zaya then asked Obama for her advice for teens “who want to be themselves and thrive like you have and currently are.”
“Well, like you have and currently are,” Obama replied. “I am just so proud of you, you know, being just an amazing role model and embracing your truth.”
Zaya is the daughter of Dwyane Wade and his wife, Gabrielle Union.
“At your age, or in the teenage years and probably through your 20s, you’re gonna be experimenting with so many versions of yourself, right?” Obama said. “All young people are trying on different versions, different voices, they’re learning more about their intellect, they’re learning about what they love, what they’re good at, what they like. This is the period of exploration.”
In 2019, Zaya came out as trans. A year later, her father shared that he fully supported her decision to transition.
“This is her life every day. This is no game to us,” Wade told the hosts of Good Morning America.” “We’re all about protecting her heart, we’re about protecting her joy and to do that, we have to support her.”
Obama assured Zaya not to worry about having all the answers right now — she has plenty of time to figure it all out.
“Your job as a teenager is not to have it all figured out, but to give yourself space and time to learn and grow,” the former first lady said. “That means you want to try a lot of things on.