[Ed. – This one’s a three-fer: trans, black, and Asian.]
As the first openly transgender woman to cover the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Leyna Bloom can safely say her modeling career is, well, in full bloom.
But the seeds for the history-making moment were planted back in 1997, when she first flipped through the Tyra Banks-fronted edition of the bikini bible on her father’s coffee table.
“When they told me I got the cover, I spoke to my dad,” Bloom told Page Six Style.
“I was like, ‘When I was looking at that magazine … I was looking into my future. …
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue has committed to casting a more diverse range of models in recent years. In 2020, Valentina Sampaio was the first trans woman to appear in the issue, and this year’s issue features SI Swim’s first Asian curve model, Yumi Nu.
Bloom, meanwhile, is also the glossy’s first trans model of color. But these strides for representation, she stressed, are just the start.