Model and actress Leyna Bloom has made history as the first trans woman to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue.
Bloom, who is also the first Black trans woman featured in the long-running issue, follows Valentina Sampaio, who became the first trans woman to appear in the Swimsuit Issue last year.
“[I] am so happy, honored, and humbled to share that I’m the 1st trans woman to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated!” an excited Bloom wrote in a post on Instagram. “This moment heals a lot of pain in the world. We deserve this moment; we have waited millions of years to show up as survivors and be seen as full humans filled with wonder.”
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Bloom is no stranger to history-making in the fashion world. In 2017, after strutting the runway at New York Fashion Week, she became the first trans model to appear in an issue of Vogue India. She had also campaigned to become the first trans woman featured in the Victoria Secret fashion show. Although she was unsuccessful in her bid, she did land a modeling gig with H&M’s Fall 2018 collection.
In an interview with Page 6, Bloom said that she first aspired to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated after seeing Tyra Banks on the cover in 1997 (Banks is the first Black woman to appear solo on the cover).
“This cover and this moment represent what it looks like in the future,” Bloom told the publication.
Bloom is one of three women featured on three different covers of the Swimsuit Issue this year. Also appearing are tennis star Naomi Osaka and Megan Thee Stallion, who has also made history as the first rapper to appear on the cover.