Great Britain

Valentina Sampaio makes history as first ever transgender Sports Illustrated model

BRAZILIAN stunner Valentina Sampaio has made history to become the first transgender model to appear in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue.

The 23-year-old, who was also the first trans Victoria’s Secret Angel, confirmed that she will be part of the historic issue on Friday.

The delighted model wrote in an emotional post: “I am excited and honored to be part of the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

“The team at SI has created yet another groundbreaking issue by bringing together a diverse set of multitalented, beautiful women in a creative and dignified way. 

“I was born trans in a remote, humble fishing village in northern Brazil. Brazil is a beautiful country, but it also hosts the highest number of violent crimes and murders against the trans community in the world—three times that of the U.S. 

“Being trans usually means facing closed doors to peoples’ hearts and minds. We face snickers, insults, fearful reactions and physical violations just for existing.

“Our options for growing up in a loving and accepting family, having a fruitful experience at school or finding dignified work are unimaginably limited and challenging.”

The first-of-its-kind is on sale July 21.

Sports Illustrated Editor in Chief MJ Day has been praised for boosting inclusivity in the iconic magazine. 

This has included featuring plus-size model Ashley Graham in 2016 and hijabi model Halima Aden in 2019. 

MJ said of featuring Valentina: “Our goal in selecting who we feature is centered around identifying some of the most inspiring, interesting, and multidimensional women that we can find.

“We are deeply moved that Valentina was willing to put her trust in us. 

“We didn’t think twice about wanting to amplify her voice and message and give her a platform to advocate from on behalf of her personal aspirations and the trans community.”

The Swimsuit Issue launched in 1964 and has featured numerous world-famous supermodels such as Tyra Banks and Christie Brinkley.

Although the focus is on swimwear, the publication has also been looking at ways to highlight issues such as the Me Too movement, mental health and ageism too.

We shared how a model hoped to be the first black transgender model on the Victoria’s Secret catwalk.

And one of Britain’s youngest transgender kids, 12, transitions after realising she was in ‘wrong body’ aged 3.

Halle Berry sparks outrage in discussion about upcoming role as transgender character

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