- For her newest cover shoot, Gabrielle Union enlisted the talent of someone very close to home—her stepdaughter, Zaya Wade.
- The 13-year-old photographed Union for her new Self magazine cover, and the photos are truly stunning (not that we would expect anything less).
- Union praised Zaya, who publicly came out as transgender earlier this year, on Instagram, writing, "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" and saying she's "grateful we got this opportunity."
Gabrielle Union has probably never taken a bad photo in her entire life, but her latest shoot, for the cover of Self magazine, is next-level stunning. It also happens to have been shot by Union's 13-year-old stepdaughter, Zaya Wade.
Union took to Instagram this week to share some of her favorite pictures from the photoshoot and to gush about her incredibly talented stepdaughter.
"Beyond proud of @zayawade shooting her 1st cover," Union wrote in the caption of a gallery of images from the shoot. "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."
Union also included one of her favorite quotes from the accompanying Self feature in the post's caption:
“You cannot price your way out of, educate your way out of, move yourself away from racism, anti-Blackness, discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia,” she said. “All of those things exist no matter how successful you are. No matter how you speak. They exist. So this idea of teaching our children to constantly be shape-shifting to make themselves more palatable or less scary for people who are committed to oppressing you anyway, no matter what you do, I rejected it. I started to reject that.” 🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤
Union also shared some of the incredible photos from her shoot with Zaya that didn't make it into the magazine, captioning them, appropriately, with three fire emojis.
Before the shoot, Union opened up to Self Editor-in-Chief Carolyn Kylstra about the complicated relationship she usually has with photos of herself in magazines and her excitement about collaborating with Zaya on the shoot.
"I’m always like, there is no way this picture is good. Like, What are you seeing? And it’s so interesting to see different people’s perspectives of you," she explained. “I’m just interested to see myself through Zaya’s eyes. I think that’s really actually…really interesting. Because I trust her. And she has a story to tell. I love her as an artist. I mean, obviously I love her, period, but where her mind is going and where her creativity is going is just dope to see. I’m just really interested to see what she comes up with."
And the feeling was definitely mutual. "The only emotion to describe the way I felt during the photoshoot is pure bliss," Zaya said in a statement after the shoot wrapped. "I finally felt like I was doing something that I loved. It was a great experience."
Zaya publicly came out as transgender earlier this year and has had the full support of both Union and her father, NBA legend Dwyane Wade, who shared his pride for his daughter in an Instagram post announcing his daughter's new chosen name.
"Everyone allow her to re-introduce herself her name is Zaya Wade!" he wrote alongside a photo of Zaya at the Truth Awards in Los Angeles in March. "Last night was Zaya’s first red carpet and we couldn’t have been prouder of how she handled the questions that were asked of her. She has emerged as one of the young faces and voices for the LGBTQ+ community."
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