Leyna Bloom is making history. The model stars in the 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, making her the first trans woman of color to be featured in the annual edition.
“I’m promoting something that has been missing in the world: trans beauty in all shapes and all sizes,” Bloom told The New York Times. “I’m representing Filipina, I’m representing Black, I am representing people who have been immigrants. For them, I’m a vessel of change.”
This is just another bullet point in Bloom’s growing résumé. She’s previously walked the runway for Tommy Hilfiger, modeled for Vogue India, and, most recently, starred in a Levi’s campaign alongside tennis champion Naomi Osaka.
Last July, Sports Illustrated cast its first trans woman for the swimsuit issue, featuring Brazilian model Valentino Sampaio in its 2020 issue.
“I feel strong, and I feel inspired to fight, not just for me but for everyone that I represent,” Sampaio said at the time.
Bloom also addressed the gender critiques of the annual Swimsuit Edition, telling The New York Times, “This is a way of reaching the top of the food chain. Let’s at least have this moment and say that we had it, and then we can go on to dismantle it.”
Take a look at Leyna Bloom in the 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, below.