Valentina Sampaio says becoming the first transgender model to appear in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit edition is “life changing”

The 23-year-old Brazilian beauty was named a 2020 Rookie for the upcoming issue – which hits newsstands on July 21 – last week, which marks the first time the iconic magazine has featured a transgender model.

And Valentina has now said hearing the news was “surreal”, because it is a “deeply meaningful achievement” for both her career, and for the LGBT community.

She said: “I was filled with so many emotions of happiness when I heard the news. The feeling was surreal. 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 marginalisation, to now being included in one of the most iconic magazines that truly embraces and celebrates diversity – it is life changing.”

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter


View this post on Instagram


“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.” -Valentina Sampaio @valentts Our Instagram channel is a platform for inspiration, inclusivity and support. SI Swimsuit will not tolerate any hateful or offensive comments. Those who violate these terms will be deleted, blocked & reported.

A post shared by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit (@si_swimsuit) on

Valentina believes the “major milestone” will mark a “step forward” for all members of the LGBT community, and hopes she can “pave the path for others” in the future

She added: “As a community, each personal success is a step forward for all. I am very grateful to God and all whom have helped me along my journey so far. I honour the challenges of those who have paved the way for me directly or indirectly. They have made where I am today possible. I am committed to keep growing and push boundaries, so that I can in some way, pave the path for others. We are here, we always have been here and we always will be.”

The model shot the images for the editorial on Scrub Island in the British Virgin Islands, alongside photographer Josie Clough and SI Swim editor MJ Day.

And Valentina praised the team for making her feel “comfortable and safe”.

She told People magazine: “Everyone was supportive and kind. They made me feel very comfortable and safe. I am very grateful to MJ and the SI team for seeing and respecting me as I truly am and for understanding that more than anything, I am human. They have supported me in continuing to spread a message of love, compassion and unity for all.”

Author: BANG Showbiz