‘Sports Illustrated’ Features 1st Transgender Woman of Color in Swimsuit Issue

If you didn’t know, it’s Women’s History Month, and Leyna Bloom is living her dream come true after all her hard work. Bloom made serious history as the very first transgender woman of color to be featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, following the footsteps of Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio, who was the first transgender woman to display her beach body in the iconic magazine.

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Leyna Bloom in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue as the First Trans Woman of Color | @si_swimsuit


Bloom is a Black and Filipino Chicago native who first made headlines back in 2017, as one of the first openly transgender models to walk the New York Fashion Week runway. The Filipina also appeared in Vogue India, was the only openly transgender model to walk the Paris Fashion Week runway in 2019 and is now proudly the first Black and Asian transgender woman to be featured in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue. “This is what it looks like to be in full bloom,” she wrote in an Instagram post on social media.

Leyna Bloom Makes Sports Illustrated History as First Transgender Woman of Color | Good Morning America

“This moment is bigger than my wildest infinite dreams. In this moment, I am a representation of all the communities I grew from, and all the communities I’m planting seeds in,” she added. She also explained in a trailer interview with Sports Illustrated, “When I first started modeling, what I heard the most was ‘you’re Black, you’re a woman, your trans, and you’re poor. You’re at the bottom of the food chain. Now people are telling me ‘you are a beautiful woman, you are a beautiful Black woman, and you’re a powerful trans woman.”

Leyna Bloom Sports Illustrated Rookie 2021


MJ Day, editor-in-chief of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, said, “Her presence as the first trans woman of color to be in our issue is a result of her lifetime dedication to forging her own path that has led to acceptance, love and change. She represents every person’s right to love themselves and be who they want to be,” and the magazine also celebrated her “undeniable sense of self that shines through the minute she walks on set.”

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