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."
I am excited and honored to be part of the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. The team at SI has created yet another groundbreaking issue by bringing together a diverse set of multitalented, beautiful women in a creative and dignified way. I was born trans in a remote, humble fishing village in northern Brazil. Brazil is a beautiful country, but it also hosts the highest number of violent crimes and murders against the trans community in the world—three times that of the U.S. 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. 💜🧡💛❤️💚
A post shared by Valentina Sampaio (@valentts) on Jul 10, 2020 at 5:44am PDT
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.
A post shared by Valentina Sampaio (@valentts) on Aug 1, 2019 at 8:10am PDT
"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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