Actress-model Leyna Bloom appears on
the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, making her
the first transgender woman to do so.
“This moment heals a lot of pain in
the world,” Bloom wrote on Instagram. “We deserve this moment; we
have waited millions of years to show up as survivors and be seen as
full humans filled with wonder.”
“I'm so happy, honored, and humbled
to share that I'm the 1st trans woman to grace the cover
of Sports Illustrated!” she added.
Bloom, who is believed to be 27, is
known as the “Polynesian Princess” in the international ballroom
scene. In 2017, she became the first transgender woman of color to
appear in Vogue India. She broke another barrier in 2019 when
her feature film debut in Port Authority at the Cannes Film
Festival made her the first transgender woman of color in a leading
role of a movie featured at a major film festival.
“I dedicate this cover to all
ballroom femme queens past, present and future,” Bloom said. “This
historical moment is important to #girlslikeus because it allows us
to live and be seen. Many girls like us don’t have the chance to
live our dreams, or to live long at all. I hope my cover empowers
those, who are struggling to be seen, feel valued. Let me be a
messenger guiding us to a future of respect and appreciation for all
women in all forms and from all walks of life.”
“I truly believe everything we do and
everyone we meet are put in our path for a purpose. There are no
accidents. We're all teachers and if you are willing to pay attention
to the lessons, trust your positive instincts and not be afraid to
take risks, the possibilities are infinite!” she said.
Last year, model Valentina Sampaio
became the first transgender woman to be included in Sports
Illustrated's annual issue.