Model and actress Leyna Bloom has created history by becoming the first Black and Asian transgender woman to be featured in a Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated, which is set to hit the stands in July this year.
Bloom, who identifies as Black and Filipina, is only the second transgender woman to ever be featured in a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Last year, Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio became the first ever transgender model on its cover.
“This moment is bigger than my wildest infinite dreams,” wrote Bloom. “In this moment, I am a representation of all the communities I grew from, and all the communities I’m planting seeds in.”
MJ Day, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s Editor In Chief, 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.”
However, Bloom is not new to shattering the glass ceiling. In September 2017, she became one of the first openly transgender models to walk the ramp at the New York Fashion Week. She was also the first transgender woman of color to appear on Vogue India in October 2017. I 2019, she also made history earlier as the first trans woman of color to star in a movie that premiered at Cannes Film Festival – “Port Authority.”
It is wonderful to see so much diversity and inclusivity, isn’t it?