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Sports Illustrated Announces Transgender Model Will Appear on Swimsuit Issue Cover For First Time

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Sports Illustrated has announced three covers for its annual swimsuit issue including the magazine’s first-ever transgender cover model, Leyna Bloom. “These are huge moments,” Bloom said when the decision was first announced. “But it’s just like, why has it taken so long?”

“I think more agencies, more movies, more films, more fashion shows need to not only hire trans talent but also make sure that the people they are hiring — the crew, the casting directors — represent that, also,” added Bloom.

Sports Illustrated said, “Leyna made her acting debut in the film Port Authority, marking the first film in Cannes Film Festival history that featured a transgender woman of color in a leading role. Now, Leyna makes history yet again as the first transgender cover model in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit history and the first trans person of color to appear on our pages.”

Bloom said when the issue was released, “This moment heals a lot of pain in the world. We deserve this moment; we have waited millions of years to show up as survivors and be seen as full humans filled with wonder.”

“If there’s one thing that our cover models have in common, it’s that they don’t have one thing in common. They look different, have different upbringings, have different passions and inspirations. But each is a reminder that beauty comes in many forms,” Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editor-in-chief MJ Day said.

From NBC:

Model and actor Leyna Bloom will be the first transgender woman of color to grace the pages of Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue when it lands on magazine stands in July.

But Bloom, who’s both Black and Filipina, is no stranger to firsts: In 2017, she became the first trans woman of color to be featured in Vogue India, and in 2019, she became the first to star in a film that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival for her appearance in “Port Authority.”

Bloom, a native of Chicago, is only the second trans woman to have been featured in Sports Illustrated (Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio became the first last year).

…Bloom will also star in the coming film “Asking for It,” scheduled to make its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival this month.

Bloom plays a gunslinger named Jett in the action-packed thriller, which centers on the Cherry Bombers, a gang of women waging vengeance on a society plagued by “masculine normative morality,”