By Michael Grimm
Valentina Sampaio is is no stranger to making history.
In 2017 she became the first trans woman to appear on the cover of Vogue Paris.
Two years later, she was the first openly transgender model to be hired by Victoria’s Secret.
Now in 2020, the 23-year-old is the first trans woman to be featured by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Sports Illustrated is a respected brand in the modeling world. In the 56 years since special edition’s first issue, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has produced some of the most successful names in the business. Sampaio is joining the elite ranks alongside stars like Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks.
In Sampaio’s open essay on what it means to be part of SI, she praises the magazine for creating another issue that champions “a diverse set of multitalented, beautiful women in a creative and dignified way.” She says she is “excited and honored to be part of the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.” While it means a lot to her to represent SI, she is even more inspired by the significance it has for the LGBTQ community as a whole.