Valentina Sampaio Becomes First Transgender Model To Feature In ‘Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’

Valentina Sampaio is the first transgender model to appear in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.

Sampaio, 23, who was also the first trans model to work with Victoria’s Secret, looks stunning as she poses up a storm for the prestigious publication.

The Brazilian beauty was photographed in Scrub Island, BVI, by photographer Josie Clough for the latest issue, with her being named as one of the eight 2020 Rookies.

Sampaio shares, “I am excited and honoured 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.”

Credit: Josie Clough/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED
Credit: Josie Clough/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

The model continues, “Being trans usually means facing closed doors to people’s 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. I recognize that I am one of the fortunate ones, and my intention is to honour that as best I can.

“I was filled with so many emotions of happiness when I heard the news. The feeling was surreal,” she tells People. “Being in SI Swim has always been on my bucket list of things to achieve in my career. It’s a dream come true on so many levels. SI has been a deeply meaningful achievement. To come from a space of fear and marginalization, to now being included in one of the most iconic magazines that truly embraces and celebrates diversity — it is life-changing.”

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MJ Day, editor of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, says: “Our goal in selecting who we feature in the SI Swimsuit issue is centered around identifying some of the most inspiring, interesting and multi-dimensional women that we can find.

“Valentina has been on our radar for some time now and when we finally met face to face it became apparent that besides her obvious beauty, she is an impassioned activist, a true pioneer for the LGBT+ community and just simply embodies the well-rounded woman we are proud to have represent SI Swimsuit across our platforms,” she shares. “We are deeply moved that Valentina was willing to put her trust in us and we didn’t think twice about wanting to amplify her voice, her message and give her a platform to advocate from on behalf of her personal aspirations and the trans community. That is what we can do as a brand, especially during these uncertain times- support her and celebrate her.”

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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. 💜🧡💛❤️💚

A post shared by Valentina Sampaio (@valentts) on

Other Rookies in the issue include Lorena Duran, Kim Riekenberg, Brooks Nader, Marquita Pring, Anita Marshall, Hyunjoo Hwang and Josephine Skriver.

The 2020 SI Swimsuit issue is on sale July 21.

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