Zaya Wade is not letting the hate get to her.
While speaking in a joint interview for People with stepmother Gabrielle Union for the Dove Self-Esteem Project, the 14-year-old teen opened up about how she’s been affected by social media criticism about her appearance since coming out as transgender in 2020.
“As a trans person, once I came out, there was a lot of hateful comments about how I should grow my hair out long or fit into a certain version of femininity, even though that’s not true at all,” she told the publication. “That kind of advice is just trying to break you, but don’t let it.”
Zaya—daughter of retired NBA star Dwyane Wade—has leaned on her family for advice, telling People that the most important lesson that she’s learned from the “Cheaper by the Dozen” actress is “that not everyone in the world and in the media is going to be truthful about what you look like.”
“I don’t have to believe everything they say,” Zaya added. “The only thing I have to believe is what I feel and what beauty means to me. I think focusing on inner beauty is the most important.”
Now, Zaya is using her platform to show other kids and teenagers that they don’t have to follow unrealistic, unattainable and unhealthy beauty standards to fit in.
“We don’t need to follow anyone into feeling unworthy or not beautiful,” she said. “We have the power over our own feeds to remove the content that doesn’t make us feel good and instead flood our feeds with the positivity that we both want to see and put out into the world.”