Leyna Bloom is officially the first transgender woman of color to grace the pages of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. The model, who is Black and Asian, posted about the honor on Instagram. She wrote a lengthy statement thanking all the people who helped her along the way.
In the post, she said, “This is what it looks like to be in full bloom. Thank you @si_swimwsuit for allowing me to showcase my heavenly form. My spirit has reached new levels. This moment is bigger than my wildest infinite dreams. In this moment, I am a representation of all the communities I grew from, and all the communities I’m planting seeds in.”
In an interview with Good Morning America, Bloom spoke more about what the honor means to her.
She said, “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. 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.”
Leyna Bloom is the first woman of color to appear in the issue, but the first transgender woman in Sports Illustrated was Brazil’s, Valentina Sampaio.