Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio created history recently when she became the first openly transgender model to feature on Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue. Sports Illustrated is an American sports magazine owned by Authentic Brands Group and was first published in 1954.
This edition featuring Sampaio is due to hit the stands on 21st July 2020.
However, Sampaio has achieved quite a few firsts in her illustrious modelling career and has consistently been breaking barriers: she had been in the news earlier for becoming the first openly trans model to pose for Victoria’s Secret in 2019 and to be featured on the cover of the French Vogue in 2017.
The 23-year-old model shared the news on her Instagram page with her fans with a message that said, “I am excited and honored to be part of the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. The team at SI has created yet another groundbreaking issue by bringing together a diverse set of multitalented, beautiful women in a creative and dignified way.”
Sampaio, who has been a vocal advocate for the LGBTQ+ people especially the transgender community, has been photographed by Josie Clough on Scrub Island for the issue.
View this post on Instagram
I am excited and honored to be part of the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. The team at SI has created yet another groundbreaking issue by bringing together a diverse set of multitalented, beautiful women in a creative and dignified way. I was born trans in a remote, humble fishing village in northern Brazil. Brazil is a beautiful country, but it also hosts the highest number of violent crimes and murders against the trans community in the world—three times that of the U.S. Being trans usually means facing closed doors to peoples’ hearts and minds. We face snickers, insults, fearful reactions and physical violations just for existing. Our options for growing up in a loving and accepting family, having a fruitful experience at school or finding dignified work are unimaginably limited and challenging. 💜🧡💛❤️💚
In the recent past, Sports Illustrated has worked to become more inclusive in terms of the models it chooses for its annual swimsuit issue. For instance, Kenya-born American model Halima Aden posed for the magazine wearing a burkini and a hijaab, whereas the magazine also featured American model Ashley Graham in 2016, the first plus-sized model to appear on the issue.