AceShowbiz - Michelle Obama has sung praise for Zaya Wade for being "an amazing role model" for other teens. The daughter of former pro basketball player Dwyane Wade, who came out as a transgender girl in 2020 and changed her name from Zion to Zaya, received the compliment during her virtual Q&A with the former First Lady which was shared via her Instagram page on Thursday, March 4.
Zaya was clearly starstruck upon meeting her "idol," looking giddy and nervous as Michelle asked her how she was doing. "I'm meeting an idol. I'm literally meeting an idol," the 13-year-old said. "[I've been] preparing for this moment for so long."
Zaya then went on with her question for Michelle, which was, "What advice do you have for teens who want to be themselves and thrive like you have and currently are?" Michelle replied, "Well, like you have and currently are." She then added of Zaya, "I am just so proud of you, you know, being just an amazing role model and embracing your truth."
As for what Michelle would urge teens to do, she elaborated, "It does take time to know what yourself is, for young people. So, my first piece of advice is be patient with yourself, No. 1. 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?"
The 57-year-old continued, "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." She went on stressing, "Your job now as a teenager is not to have it all figured out, but to give your self space and time to learn and grow. So that means you want to try a lot of things on."
"I think that change, even though it's scary, is probably one of the most beneficial things in growth," she further shared, "You want to experiment with different friends and connect with people who are not like you sometimes. Because sometimes the people who aren't like you who will show you a part of yourself that you never knew was there."
The mother of two added, "Growth comes with difference. Growth comes when you try on something new and you learn from that. So, right now I would just encourage young people to keep on exploring that, because it's a lifelong journey."
Michelle then turned the mic over to Zaya, who weighed in, "Because we all think that we thrive with people who are just like us. But I mean, I think getting a different perspective from someone else who isn't like you really helps, and that definitely helped me in becoming me and defining my truth and she actually really helped me to become a better myself, and I'm really glad, and your advice is impeccable."
Michelle latter added another piece of advice for young people. "Trying on different things now and building that muscle to be okay with change will allow you to be bigger as you grow, because a lot of people don't try new things because they're afraid of transition. They're afraid of the new thing," she said.
"But everything good in life that's gonna happen to you is gonna require you to try something new," she reminded, "and everything new takes some time to adjust to. You're going to feel out of place, you're going to feel nervous, it's going to take you a moment, you're going to feel apprehensive, you're going to be lonely. "