It’s official: Valentina Sampaio just become the first transgender model to appear in the legendary Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. According to the brand’s website, the 23-year-old Brazilian model is one of eight Rookies, or newcomers to the magazine, that will be featured in this year’s iconic edition – which is set to hit stands later this month.
In a statement to Today, the magazine elaborated on their historical decision: ‘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’.
Additionally, Sampaio released a statement of her own on Instagram in which she reflected on how it feels to hit such a huge milestone. The caption reads: ‘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’.