View this post on Instagram
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. 💜🧡💛❤️💚
I know everyone’s feeling a little low right now, so here’s some good news amid the bleakness of our current situation. Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio has just made history by appearing in this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, making her the first trans model to grace the pages of the annual issue.
ICYDK, Sports Illustrated publishes the special edition every year. Sampaio being on it is big because, as Slate pointed out in 2005, “in its 41 years on newsstands, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue has been hailed as the arbiter of supermodel succession.”
According to Vogue, “the inclusive spirit of Sports Illustrated’s current model lineup can be credited to the publication’s longtime editor-in-chief, MJ Day. Day included [Ashley] Graham as the first plus-size model in 2016, Halima Aden as its first hijabi face in 2019, and had Banks return at the age of 46 to dazzle on the cover in 2019, all of which has heightened the relevance of the annual issue.” It also quotes Day saying, “Our goal in selecting who we feature is centered around identifying some of the most inspiring, interesting, and multidimensional women that we can find.”
“Valentina has been on our radar for some time now and when we finally met face to face it became apparent that besides her obvious beauty, she is an impassioned activist, a true pioneer for the LGBT+ community and just simply embodies the well-rounded woman we are proud to have represent SI Swimsuit across our platforms,” E! Online quotes her.
Talking to E! News, Sampaio said: “The first thought that came to my mind was this is not only an achievement for me as an individual but for the whole trans community. WE did this! WE are making a change in the world and I am so honored that SI thought of me to be in the upcoming SI Swim Issue.”
This isn’t the first time Sampaio has made waves: Vogue also pointed out that she was also the first trans woman “to make the cover of a Vogue edition” when she modeled for Paris Vogue’s March 2017 issue. She was also heralded as Victoria Secret’s first trans model when she signed onto the company last year.
Photo courtesy of Valentina Sampaio’s Instagram Account
Will Victoria’s Secret first transgender model save them?
“Don’t invalidate trans women as women,” says Pia Wurtzbach
This trans Filipina speaks out on isolation and discrimination in Tokyo’s immigration facilities
Andreja Pejic Becomes Ford’s First Transgender Model