The 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is breaking barriers.
On Monday, the magazine unveiled the three cover stars for this year’s edition of its most popular issue: tennis pro Naomi Osaka, rapper Megan Thee Stallion, and model Leyna Bloom.
Bloom is the first-ever transgender woman to land the cover of the Swimsuit Issue since its debut in 1964.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 19, 2021
“Among the many things we’ve learned over the past 18 months is how much we value being a part of a community, and how much we miss that interaction when it’s taken away,” says MJ Day, editor-in-chief of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. “This issue represents the culmination of a powerful community — coming together during challenging times to make history.”
Day continues, “If there’s one thing that our cover models have in common, it’s that they don’t have one thing in common. They look different, have different upbringings, have different passions and inspirations. But each is a reminder that beauty comes in many forms.”
“Leyna Bloom makes history as the first transgender cover model in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s history, and the first trans person of colour to appear on our pages, solidifying the fact that the more diverse and inclusive a community, the stronger it becomes,” the editor-in-chief says. “We celebrate Naomi for her passion, strength, and power geared towards consistently breaking barriers when it comes to equality, social justice and mental health. As for Megan Thee Stallion, she is a magnetic powerhouse taking the world by storm. Together these women represent three of the most powerful voices of today.”
Bloom celebrated the honour of being on the Swimsuit cover on Instagram: “We deserve this moment and we have waited millions of years to show up as survivors and be seen as full humans filled with wonder.”
“I have dreamt a million beautiful dreams but for girls like me, most dreams are just fanciful hopes in a world that often erases and omits our history and even existence. This moment is so powerful because it allows me to live forever even after my physical form is gone. Not a lot of people get to live in the future, so at this moment, I’m proudly choosing to live forever,” Bloom said.
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue goes on sale July 22.