Sports Illustrated Spotlights Its First Trans Woman Of Color On Swimsuit Issue

Image via lev radin /

Model Leyna Bloom made waves online after becoming the first transgender woman of color to grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

Sharing her achievement on Instagram, she wrote, “This is what it looks like to be in full bloom. My spirit has reached new levels. This moment is bigger than my wildest infinite dreams. At this moment, I am a representation of all the communities I grew from, and all the communities I’m planting seeds in.”

Bloom, who is Black and Filipina, is the second transgender woman to be featured in a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Last year, Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio became the first.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s editor-in-chief, MJ Day, said Bloom was selected “not because of what she represents but because of her beauty, commitment and desire to leave the world a better place.”

“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 that has led to acceptance, love, and change,” Day said. “She represents every person’s right to love themselves and be who they want to be. We are honored to have her in this year’s issue and understand the effect it will have on so many others.”

Bloom has been breaking barriers in the fashion industry. She became one of the first openly transgender models to walk at New York Fashion Week in 2017 and was the first transgender woman of color to grace Vogue India.

In 2018, Glamour named Bloom as one of the 6 Women Who Are Shaping The Future of Fashion.

[via CBS News, cover image via lev radin /]

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