Zaila Avant-garde - Updated Jun 2024

Updated On June 3, 2024
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Zaila Avant-garde

Zaila Avant-garde is a speller, basketball player, juggler, and author from the United States. Zaila Avant-garde is best known for being the 2021 winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee and the first Black American winner.

Early Life

On the 9th of February 2007, Zaila Avant-garde was born in Harvey, Louisiana, the United States of America. According to her birth date, she is 16 years old and has a sun sign of Virgo.

In addition, the girl holds American nationality and belongs to the African-American ethnicity. This girl has her belief in Christianity religion.

Avant-garde was born to her father Jawara ‘Spacetime’ Heard and her mother Alma Vernice Heard. Her mother works as a Transportation/Valet Supervisor at Caesars Entertainment Corporation by profession.

She grew up with three brothers whose names are Sol Heard, Zwe Heard, and Wonder Heard. Moreover, she began reading encyclopedias and different books at a very young age.

Zaila Avant-garde

Caption: Zaila Avant-garde with her mother (Source:

Zaila Avant-garde – Education

Avant-garde is currently studying at Warren Easton Charter High School. Meanwhile, she has also played various basketball games for Lady Eagles at Belle Chasse Academy. Meanwhile, she was inspired by former professional basketball player, Kobe Bryant.

Besides basketball, she has had a huge interest in reading and finding new words since childhood. In addition, she has expressed her desire to attend Harvard University. She has also expressed interest in pursuing a career in neuroscience or mathematics.

Professional Career


Zaila Avant-garde began playing basketball at the age of five and quickly developed a passion for the sport. She has since won multiple titles and awards, including the 2018 USA Basketball 3-on-3 national championship and the 2019 National AAU title.

In addition to basketball, she is also an accomplished musician, playing several instruments including the drums and the trumpet. She gained national attention in 2019 when she set a Guinness World Record for the most bounce juggles in one minute with four basketballs.

In addition, she has the desire to play professionally in the WNBA.

Spelling bee Champion

Meanwhile, she gained much fame as a spelling bee champion. She made history in July 2021 when she won the 93rd Scripps National Spelling Bee, becoming the first African American to win the competition in its 96-year history.

The spelling bee, which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, featured 209 spellers ranging in age from 9 to 15 years old.

Zaila Avant-garde

Caption: Zaila Avant-garde as the 2021 winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee and the first Black American winner (Source: The Washington Post)

The Avant-garde, who had competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee twice before, was considered a favorite to win after she made it to the finals in 2019.

During the competition, she correctly spelled words such as “querimonious,” “solidungulate,” and “Nepeta,” and clinched the victory by correctly spelling “Murraya,” a genus of tropical Asiatic and Australian trees.

Her was celebrated by many, including former First Lady Michelle Obama, who congratulated her on Twitter and called her a “remarkable young woman.” Avant-garde also received a congratulatory message from NBA star Stephen Curry, who had previously invited her to participate in a basketball skills competition.

Writer and volunteer

Besides basketball and spelling competitions, she is an avid reader and writer. She has published a book, titled “A to Zaila: The Science of Spelling,” which provides tips and strategies for aspiring spellers. She also volunteers with the charity organization No Kid Hungry, advocating for child hunger awareness and raising funds for school meal programs.

Zaila Avant-garde – Awards

At a such young age, Avant-garde has won several awards and honors for her achievements in basketball, spelling, and academics.

“2018 USA Basketball 3-on-3 national championship”, “2019 National AAU title”, “2019 Guinness World Record for the most bounce juggles in one minute with four basketballs”, “2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion”, “2021 ESPY Award for Best Breakthrough Athlete”, and “2021 BET Young Stars Award” are some of her recognitions.

Zaila Avant-garde

Caption: Zaila Avant-garde Guinness World Record certification (Source: Twitter)

She has also been recognized for her academic achievements, including being named to the Duke TIP (Talent Identification Program) for gifted students and earning a spot on the Louisiana All-State academic team.

Net Worth 2024

Avant-garde is a talented young athlete who gained recognition for her impressive achievements in the sport of competitive spelling. Meanwhile, in 2020, she took part in the Kaplan-Hexco Online Spelling Bee competition.

She won the first prize worth $10,000. After becoming the winner of the 93rd Scripps National Spelling Bee 2021, she grabbed the check for $50,000. As per an online website, her net worth is around $1 million.

Relationship Status

In terms of her personal life, Zaila Avant-garde seems to be single and unmarried. Meanwhile, she has not talked about her relationship at the moment. She is still a young girl and is currently focused on her academics, basketball, and spelling competitions. As far as now, this girl is not a part of controversy or rumors.

Body Measurements

Zaila Avant-garde

Caption: Zaila Avant-garde posing for a photo (Source: Instagram)

Avant-garde is a cute and beautiful girl with a great sense of spelling and knowledge. This girl stands 5 feet 2 inches tall (1.57 m) and weighs around 45 kg (99 lbs). Meanwhile, she has a black pair of eyes with black hair color and her other body measurements are still unknown.

Social Media

On her Instagram page ‘@zailaavantgarde’ there are over 113k followers. Likewise, there are over 34.9k followers on her Twitter page ‘@ZailaAvantgarde’ and 21 friends on her Facebook page.