Olivia Harvey
June 19, 2020 7:51 am
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David Crotty, Getty Images

Dwyane Wade’s daughter and Gabrielle Union‘s stepdaughter Zaya Wade may have just turned 13 last week, but she’s already establishing herself as a talented fashion photographer. When Union was asked to appear on the June cover of Self magazine but couldn’t have an official shoot because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Zaya stepped in as photographer and knocked the whole dang shoot out of the park.

“Beyond proud of @zayawade shooting her 1st cover,” Union wrote in a June 18th Instagram post showing off some of the pics chosen for the Self spread. “She is a tremendous artist/writer & I’m so happy everyone gets a glimpse of what she can do. Seeing yourself through a child’s eyes is quite illuminating & im grateful we got this opportunity from @selfmagazine.”

Self also shared its adoration for Zaya’s work in a June 17th Instagram post. “We asked Gabrielle Union (@gabunion) if her stepdaughter Zaya Wade (@zayawade), a 13-year-old budding photographer, would be interested in shooting the photos for Union’s cover profile. Zaya gave an enthusiastic yes, and we were able to see Union in a way we’d not seen her before—through the eyes of her stepdaughter.”

It’s clear that there’s a lot of love and joy in Zaya and Union’s relationship.

Union also shared a few outtakes from her photo session with Zaya. The lighting, the happiness, and the obvious fun they’re having together radiates through the images.

In her Self feature, Union opened up about being a mother and stepmother to five kids and how raising Black children in America today is a learning process.

She said that she has come to reject the idea of telling her kids to “constantly shape-shift and comport ourselves to make someone else, who’s committed to misunderstanding or oppressing us, more comfortable.” Instead, she and her husband Dwyane have refocused their education on being the best people they can be.

“What I teach them is to always center joy, peace, grace, compassion, understanding, and to be a good neighbor and global citizen, but that you are worthy and deserving and validated by birth, by the fact that you exist,” she told Self. “And that is absolutely enough, and if it’s not enough for someone, that’s not someone that you need to be worried about.”

She continued, “It’s not our job to be educating people who could easily google, because they are committed to being willfully ignorant. I free you of that.”

With this kind of support system at her back, Zaya will no doubt become one of the best fashion photographers of her generation. She’s already proved she’s got what it takes, and we can’t wait to see more.