Leyna Bloom Is the First Transgender Model to Cover the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

Leyna Bloom just made history. The model and actor is the first openly transgender woman to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue. 

“This cover and this moment represent what it looks like in the future,” she told Page Six. 

“Being a person of trans experience growing up in the world, there was no representation of that [in fashion], so I felt like I could never do this,” she told the outlet. “I think it [was] just putting myself out there, knowing that I was born in a world I didn’t fit in, so I have to create one that I do. I just wanted to be seen in the world and let people know that people like me do exist and we are beautiful.”

“I have dreamt a million beautiful dreams, but for girls like me, most dreams are just fanciful hopes in a world that often erases and omits our history and even existence,” Bloom wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of the cover. “This moment is so powerful because it allows me to live forever even after my physical form is gone. Not a lot of people get to live in the future, so at this moment, I’m proudly choosing to live forever.”

She continued, “I dedicate this cover to all ballroom femme queens past, present and future. This historical moment is important to #girlslikeus because it allows us to live and be seen. Many girls like us don’t have the chance to live our dreams, or to live long at all. I hope my cover empowers those, who are struggling to be seen, feel valued. Let me be a messenger guiding us to a future of respect and appreciation for all women in all forms and from all walks of life.”

Leyna Bloom is one of three cover stars this year; she’s joined by Naomi Osaka and Megan Thee Stallion, who each have separate covers. 

Two years ago Bloom broke new ground at the Cannes Film Festival. Per EW, in 2019 she became the first trans woman of color to lead a movie at the event; she starred in the drama Port Authority, directed by Danielle Lessovitz. 

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