Valentina Sampaio Becomes First Trans ‘Sports Illustrated’ Model

Valentina Sampaio Becomes First Trans 'Sports Illustrated' Model
Image credit: Josie Clough/Sports Illustrated

Valentina Sampaio, the 23-year-old Brazilian-born model, has become the first trans model to feature in the iconic Sports Illustrated’s ‘Swimsuit Issue’ in its 56-year history.

The model had previously made history after starring on the cover of French Vogue’s March 2017 issue, and in 2019 as the first-ever transgender Victoria’s Secret’s model. 

In an essay written by Sampaio for the new issue, she shared her story, writing that: “being trans usually means facing closed doors to peoples’ hearts and minds,” and added “We face snickers, insults, fearful reactions and physical violations just for existing.”

She added: “Thank you SI for seeing and respecting me as I truly am,” and continued by saying, “For understanding that more than anything, I am human. Thank you for supporting me in continuing to spread a message of love, compassion and unity for ALL.”

This news comes following previous moves by the magazine to push towards more inclusivity in it’s casting. In 2019 Halima Aden became the first model to wear a hijab and burkini during her SI shoot, and in 2016 Ashley Graham became the Swimsuit Issue’s first-ever plus-size model.