Michelle Obama gushes over trans role model Zaya Wade for ’embracing her truth’

Zaya Wade

Zaya Wade was adorably star struck when she met her “idol” Michelle Obama for the first time in a heartwarming Q&A session.

The 13-year-old daughter of Dwyane Wade got the world’s greatest pep talk from the former first lady on Thursday (4 March) as they discussed advice for teen readers of her memoir, Becoming.

But before they got round that, Zaya was briefly lost for words.

“I’m meeting an idol. I’m literally meeting an idol. [I’ve been] preparing for this moment for so long,” she gushed. “I’m very excited today. I also get to miss one of my classes, so…”

“Ask your teacher for forgiveness from me because you’re doing me a favour!” Obama joked.

Reassured, Zaya Wade started off the Q&A by asking Michelle Obama’s advice for teenagers “who want to be themselves and thrive like you have and currently are”.

“Well, like you also have, and currently are!” replied the former first lady as Zaya beamed back at her. “You know, I am just so proud of you for being an amazing role model and just embracing your truth. You’re already doing this, so maybe this [advice] is for some other young people that are listening.”

She went on to encourage teenagers to use this time in their lives to explore and experiment as much as they can.

“It does take time to know what your self is. So my first piece of advice is be patient with yourself, number one,” she began. “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?

“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.”

Michelle Obama urged Zaya Wade and others her age not to pressure themselves to find an answer to the question of who they’re going to be, reminding her that “you’re not supposed to know yet”.

“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.

“You want to read a lot of good books, you want to experiment with different friends and connect with people who are not like you, because sometimes it’s the people who are not like you that will show you a part of yourself that you never knew was there.

“Growth comes with difference,” she continued. “Growth comes when you try on something new and you learn from that.”

“Your advice is impeccable, I don’t know if I could even expand on that,” Zaya agreed, though she admitted she’s finding it hard to “branch out” due to the pandemic – something we all can relate to right now.

Be sure to watch the adorable conversation between Zaya Wade and Michelle Obama in full below.


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