Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue 2020 Features First Transgender Model

Valentina Sampaio is the first openly transgender model to be featured in the ‘Sports Illustrated’ Swimsuit Issue (Photo Credit: Josie Clough for Sports Illustrated)

There’s a saying that good things come in threes. This proves to be the case for Valentina Sampaio.  The 23-year-old Brazilian model became the first openly transgender model on the cover of Vogue Paris in 2017, first trans model hired by Victoria’s Secret in 2019, and the first transgender model to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2020.

Valentina Sampaio’s Vogue Paris cover (Photo Credit: Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott)

In an essay for the publication, Sampaio explained:

“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. I recognize that I am one of the fortunate ones, and my intention is to honor that as best I can.”

The essay can be in its entirety on Sports Illustrated’s website.

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🌈🌈🌈🌈 #Repost @voguemagazine with @make_repost ・・・ @valentts just made history as @si_swimsuit's first trans model. The Brazilian-born model and activist is used to breaking boundaries—Sampaio was already the first trans model to make the cover of a Vogue edition—but discovering she had made the @si_swimsuit issue was still special, she says. Sampaio has long been vocal in her support of Brazil’s trans community, and hopes that her moment in the rookie spotlight can shine a light on the issues facing LGBTQIA people in her nation. “Brazil is a beautiful country, but it also hosts the highest number of violent crimes and murders against the trans community globally—three times that of the U.S.,” she says. “Being trans usually means facing closed doors to peoples’ hearts and minds.” Tap the link in our bio to see all photos.

A post shared by Valentina Sampaio (@valentts) on

Sources: Sports Illustrated, Valentina Sampaio Official YouTube Channel, Valentina Sampaio Official Instagram Page, Vogue Paris, The Daily Beast

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