Sports Illustrated will feature its first openly transgender model for the magazine's annual swimsuit issue. Valentina Sampaio was named a 2020 Rookie of the Year for the upcoming issue that hits stands on July 21, marking the first time a trans beauty is featured on the pages of the iconic publication.
"I am excited and honored to be part of the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue," she wrote on Instagram. "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."
The 23-year-old Brazilian called on her upbringing to highlight how far she has come, but also to shine a light on the staggering violence against trans women in that part of the world.
"I was born trans in a remote, humble fishing village in northern Brazil," she shared. "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."
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