Trans Model Valentina Sampaio Praises Sports Illustrated for 'Groundbreaking Issue' Featuring Her
Sports Illustrated

The Brazilian beauty becomes the first openly transgender model to appear in the magazine's annual Swimsuit Issue, saying she's 'honored' to be part of the publication that embraces diversity.

AceShowbiz - Valentina Sampaio makes yet another history. The Brazilian beauty becomes the first openly transgender model to appear on the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue that will hit the shelves on July 21.

Named a 2020 Rookie by the publication, the 23-year-old celebrated it in her Friday, July 10 Instagram post, which featured one of her photos from the magazine's upcoming issue. She rocked a beige two-piece bikini while posing on the beach at Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina in British Virgin Islands.

"I am excited and honored to be part of the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue," she wrote in the caption. Praising the magazine for embracing diversity, she continued, "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."

She went on highlighting transgender issue in her homeland of Brazil, "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," she shared. "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."

During a photo shoot for the publication, Valentina said that she wants to use her voice and visibility to "give the world a good message of love and respect" for everybody. She added of her goal by being featured on the magazine, "Swimsuit is a big platform. I feel blessed that I am the first transgender to be here. I am not working just for myself but for everyone that feels prejudice, and feels discriminated [against]."

Valentina also revealed her hope for herself and other transgenders, telling SI that she will "really enjoy to see when I don't have to fight for the right to be myself, to express myself, to be who I am."

Valentina previously made history by becoming the first transgender model to grace the cover of Vogue Paris in 2017 and becoming Victoria's Secret's first trans model in August 2019.

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