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Sports Illustrated releases swimsuit issue with transgender cover model

Leyna Bloom was photographed by Yu Tsai in Tampa, Fla.
Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated is revealing its annual swimsuit issue with a barrier-breaking cover star: a transgender model.

Leyna Bloom is featured on one of the magazine’s “three history-making covers” released Monday.

The 27-year-old actor and ballroom dancer is both the first transgender cover model and the first transgender person of color to appear in Sports Illustrated’s pages, the publication said.

Bloom’s story, Sports Illustrated swimsuit editor in chief MJ Day said in a statement, represents “one grounded in resilience, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to help her tell it. Her presence as the first trans woman of color to be in our issue is a result of her lifetime dedication to forging her own path.”

While the selection of Bloom was announced by the mag earlier this year, Monday marked the first look at her cover.

“I never imagined that I will be born in the time when something like this will happen for someone with my skin tone, and with someone with my background,” Bloom told ABC News in March.

“This is a magazine that says we are allowed to be beautiful in all our shapes and sizes, and that should be loved because we’re not often seen in that way,” she said.

Tennis star Naomi Osaka and rapper Megan Thee Stallion also star on two separate covers for the swimsuit issue.

Osaka is the first female Black athlete to pose for the cover much-buzzed about swimsuit feature.

“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,” Day said about the choice in cover models. “But each is a reminder that beauty comes in many forms.”

Tags Layna Bloom Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue

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