11 July 2020

‘I feel honoured’, says first transgender model to be featured in Sports Illustrated, Brazil’s Valentina Sampaio

Valentina Sampaio has become the first transgender model to feature in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue.

The 23 year-old Brazilian, who is also the first transgender Victoria’s Secret Angel, revealed she is ‘honoured’ to be part of a ‘groundbreaking’ issue.

The model said on Instagram: "I am excited and honoured 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.”

Sports Illustrated Editor in Chief MJ Day added: "Our goal in selecting who we feature is centered around identifying some of the most inspiring, interesting, and multidimensional women that we can find.

"We are deeply moved that Valentina was willing to put her trust in us. 

“We didn’t think twice about wanting to amplify her voice and message and give her a platform to advocate from on behalf of her personal aspirations and the trans community.”

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