As the 15-year-old marked a major fashion milestone by making her magazine cover debut, she made sure to pay tribute to her biggest cheerleaders: her family. When asked when she feels most empowered, Zaya told British style publication Dazed in an interview published March 15, "When my family surrounds me."
"They are such a giant support system and have always been there for me," she continued. "No matter what happens, I feel strongest when I'm with them."
Dwyane and Gabrielle have long rallied behind Zaya, who came out as transgender in 2020 at age 12. In August 2022, the retired NBA star petitioned a California judge on his daughter's behalf to legally change her name and gender, with the court approving the changes in February.
"So many big changes have happened over the last couple of years with me, but also just in general," Zaya explained to Dazed. "I think it's not my job, but it's my honor to continue and further my family's education and appreciation for the entire LBGTQ+ community as we grow together."
And Zaya's big cover moment comes more than a week after she made her runway debut at Paris Fashion Week, walking in the Miu Miu show as Dwyane and Gabrielle cheered her on from the front row.
But while she's stepping into the spotlight on her own terms now, Zaya admitted growing up in the public eye hasn't be easy. "There are some highs and some lows," she stated. "I mean, 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."
And Zaya doesn't let the trolls get to her. "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 said. "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."