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Sports Illustrated uses transgender model in swimsuit issue for first time


Agence France-Presse

New York, United States  /  Sat, July 11, 2020  /  07:01 pm
Sports Illustrated uses transgender model in swimsuit issue for first time

In this file photo taken on February 18, 2017 Brazilian transgender model Valentina Sampaio poses during an interview in Milan. (AFP/Miguel Medina)

Sports Illustrated is featuring a transgender model for the first time ever in its swimsuit issue this year, the US magazine said Friday.


"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.” -Valentina Sampaio @valentts Our Instagram channel is a platform for inspiration, inclusivity and support. SI Swimsuit will not tolerate any hateful or offensive comments. Those who violate these terms will be deleted, blocked & reported.

A post shared by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit (@si_swimsuit) on

Valentina Sampaio, from Brazil, will appear in the 2020 edition of the supplement that has included famous models such as Heidi Klum and Ashley Graham.

Sampaio, 23, said in a statement that she was "excited and honored" to appear in the issue, which is released on July 21.

She was photographed for the shoot in Scrub Island, in the British Virgin Islands, Sports Illustrated said.

Sampaio is from a fishing village in Ceara, a poor state in the northeast of Brazil.

Read also: In first, Sports Illustrated will feature burkini-clad model

She said trans people face insults and attacks in her home country.

"I recognize that I am one of the fortunate ones, and my intention is to honor that as best I can," she said.

For years, Sports Illustrated was focused on young, white models but has diversified.

In 1997, Tyra Banks, became the first black woman to appear on its cover.

In 2017, Sampaio became the first transgender model to feature on a Vogue cover, when she appeared on the front of the French edition. 

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