Valentina Sampaio Makes History Becoming Sports Illustrated’s First Trans Model

Valentina Sampaio, 23-year makes history in the modeling industry by becoming the first transgender woman to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She made history last year by becoming the first transgender model to work for Victoria’s Secret, as well as the first to make the cover of Vogue Paris in 2017.

The Brazilian model has been named as one of the edition’s 2020 ‘rookies’. In the edition, Sampaio joins Lorena Duran, Kim Riekenberg, Brooks Nader, Marquita Pring, Anita Marshall, Hyunjoo Hwang, and Josephine Skriver in the magazine, which is out on July 21st.

Sampaio hails from a fishing village in northern Brazil, has been using her platform to fight for transgender rights. In a post to her 419,000 followers on Instagram as well as on the Sports Illustrated website, Sampaio said that she was 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.

In her post, she further writes ‘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.’

She also adds, ‘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.’

Sports Illustrated (SI) has become a respected brand in the modeling world. Its swimsuit issue has featured some of the industry’s most successful names, since launching 56 years ago.