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Today, Sports Illustrated released their highly anticipated star-studded Swimsuit Edition. The magazine features the model and actress Leyna Bloom, making her the first trans person to grace the cover of SI's annual issue. Along with Bloom, the magazine features rapper Megan Thee Stallion and Olympic tennis player Naomi Osaka on two other covers. According to the magazine, Megan is the first rapper to cover the Swimsuit issue and Osaka is the first Black woman athlete.
Bloom announced the news to her 23.7 million followers on Instagram. “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,” she wrote.
MJ Day, editor-in-chief of the Swimsuit Editor, said of Bloom's cover: “Leyna is legendary in the world of activism, strikingly gorgeous, and has an undeniable sense of self that shines through the minute she walks on set.” Day continued: “Her story represents one grounded in resilience, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to help her tell it. 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.”
On set, Bloom did not expect to meet legendary supermodel Tyra Banks–the first Black woman to land an SI Swimsuit cover. In an interview with Popsugar, Bloom recalled when Day showed her and Banks the magazine’s cover. “It was so surreal to me. Everything I went through from the moment I was born—all the trials and tribulations up to this point—just flashed before my eyes. There are no words to captivate how I feel or how anyone would feel—especially someone like me because this has literally never happened to anyone like me on the face of the earth,” she said.
She also discussed what this cover means to the LGBTQ community. “This is a huge milestone. When I was crying in MJ and Tyra [Banks’] arms, I was like, ‘This magazine is going to change the world.’ Every few years, we step into our future and the evolution of humanity,” Bloom said. “This moment is a leap into the future of what we are capable of doing, seeing, and taking time to think about. I’m just lucky that I was born into a time where I see the world shifting into this period of inclusivity.”
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