First SI Asian Trans model Leyna Bloom is Magic in every shot

Sports Illustrated has revealed the first ever black and Asian transgender model to grace the pages of its annual Swimsuit Issue.

Though the iconic magazine doesn’t launch until July, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Instagram account has been unveiling one model a day throughout the month of March — and this morning, they made waves with the announcement that Chicago-born model, dancer, actor, and activist Leyna Bloom, 27, is joining the likes of Lais Ribeiro and Josephine Skriver in the 2021 edition.

Leyna, who is the second trans model to pose for SI Swim, opened up to Good Morning America about her boundary-breaking accomplishment, gushing: ‘I never imagined that I would be born in a time when something like this would happen for someone with my skin tone and for someone with my background.’

“When I first started modeling,” said Leyna Bloom, I heard the most you are black, you are trans, you are a woman, you are poor, you are at the bottom of the food chain. Now people are telling me you are a beautiful woman, you are a powerful trans woman you are a beautiful black woman. Magic is what it’s all about.

She was also one of only a few trans models to take to the runways of New York City Fashion Week, the only trans model to walk in the Tommy Hilfiger x Zendaya’s 2019 Fall/Winter show, and was the first trans woman of color in Vogue India. 

Now, she’s following in the footsteps of Valentina Sampaio, who became the first trans model to pose for SI Swim last year.

Leyna says their presence in the magazine refutes criticism that the brand is just about objectifying women. 

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