Leyna Bloom is photographed at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019. Getty Images
Model Leyna Bloom is making history as the first transgender woman of color to appear in the “Sports Illustrated” Swimsuit issue. The mixed-race model, from the South Side of Chicago, is both Black and Filipina.
“This moment is bigger than my wildest infinite dreams,” Bloom wrote on Instagram. “In this moment, I am a representation of all the communities I grew from, and all the communities I’m planting seeds in.”
She is the second transgender person featured in the magazine. Valentina Sampaio, of Brazil, was the first trans woman in the Swimsuit Issue last year.
However, Bloom is not new to the modeling world. She became the first openly trans model on the runway of New York Fashion Week in 2017, and was the first openly trans model on the runway of Paris Fashion Week two years later.
“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,” said MJ Day, editor of the “Sports Illustrated” Swimsuit Issue. “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.”