In a first: Sports Illustrated features transgender model in swimsuit issue

For years, the magazine was focused on young, white models but has diversified.

AFP July 13, 2020
Valentina Sampaio. PHOTO: AFP


Sports Illustrated is featuring a transgender model for the first time ever in its swimsuit issue this year, the US magazine said on Friday.

Valentina Sampaio, from Brazil, will appear in the 2020 edition of the supplement that has included famous models such as Heidi Klum and Ashley Graham. Sampaio, 23, said in a statement that she was "excited and honoured" to appear in the issue, which is released on July 21.


A post shared by Valentina Sampaio (@valentts) on

She was photographed for the shoot in Scrub Island, in the British Virgin Islands, the magazine said. Sampaio is from a fishing village in Ceara, a poor state in the northeast of Brazil. She said trans people face insults and attacks in her home country.

"I recognise that I am one of the fortunate ones, and my intention is to honour that as best I can," she said.

For years, Sports Illustrated was focused on young, white models but has diversified.

In 1997, Tyra Banks, became the first black woman to appear on its cover. In 2017, Sampaio became the first transgender model to feature on a Vogue cover, when she appeared on the front of the French edition.

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