Valentina Sampaio Is The First Transgender Model In The 'SI' Swimsuit Issue

Starr Bowenbank

From Women's Health

  • Valentina Sampaio is the first trans woman to appear in Sport Illustrated's swinsuit issue.

  • Valentina previously made history for being Victoria's Secret first transgender model.

The world of swimsuit modeling has surely come a long way, and by that I am directly referring to Sports Illustrated's esteemed swimsuit issue, because who/what else? Tyra Banks made history as the first Black woman to be the cover of the magazine back in 1997, and more recently, Ashley Graham became the first plus-sized model to snag a cover in 2016. But history is being made yet again: Valentina Sampaio has become the first transgender woman to appear in Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue, and she couldn't be anymore excited.

"I was filled with so many emotions of happiness when I heard the news. The feeling was surreal," Valentine told People. "Being in SI Swim has always been on my bucket list of things to achieve in my career. It’s a dream come true on so many levels. SI has been a deeply meaningful achievement. To come from a space of fear and marginalization, to now being included in one of the most iconic magazines that truly embraces and celebrates diversity — it is life changing."

Valentina also made waves after becoming the first transgender woman to model for Victoria's Secret in 2019—a monumental moment for the brand, especially considering that the brand's former CEO, Jan Singer, came under fire for saying that trans people don't fit the "fantasy" aspect of their annually televised runway show. Five months after those comments, Valentina got the job.

At the time, Valentina said that her being chosen to work with the brand was a major step for inclusivity in fashion.

"This represents a victory for society, not just the trans community but for all people who are currently underrepresented in fashion," she told ELLE. "We are experiencing a moment, an evolution, and it is a positive one. Brands are finally learning and catching up to the importance of inclusivity and diversity," adding, "It is hugely important moment not only for myself, but my community and beyond."

Congrats to this beautiful rising star!

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