Meet Sports activities Illustrated’s First Black, Asian Transgender Swimsuit Mannequin

After efficiently pushing for variety on runways and in style spreads, Leyna Bloom is again to smash one more barrier.  

The Chicago native is featured within the pages of Sports activities Illustrated’s 2021 Swimsuit Challenge, turning into the primary Black, Asian transgender mannequin to seem within the journal. She follows Valentina Sampaio, who final 12 months grew to become Sports activities Illustrated’s first transgender swimsuit mannequin. 

In a quick essay asserting Bloom’s look within the journal, editor MJ Day praised the Black and Filipino mannequin for having “an simple sense of self that shines by way of the minute she walks on set.”  

“We’re honored to have her on this 12 months’s challenge and perceive the impact it is going to have on so many others,” Day wrote. “She joins our workforce, not due to what she represents however due to her magnificence, dedication and want to go away the world a greater place.” 

Bloom, in the meantime, additionally emphasised the milestone.  

“That is what it appears to be like prefer to be in full bloom,” she wrote on Instagram. “This second is greater than my wildest infinite goals. On this second, I’m a illustration of all of the communities I grew from, and all of the communities I’m planting seeds in.”

The Sports activities Illustrated Swimsuit Challenge pictorial is maybe Bloom’s most high-profile achievement, however her profession has been on the rise for a while. In 2017, she grew to become one of many first brazenly transgender fashions on the runway at New York Vogue Week. She made her performing debut in Danielle Lessovitz’s “Port Authority,” which premiered on the 2019 Cannes Movie Pageant. Earlier this 12 months, she appeared in a Levi’s marketing campaign that additionally featured Naomi Osaka. 

Fulfilling these goals, nonetheless, hasn’t come straightforward. Amongst these not particularly versed in style, Bloom is finest identified for launching a viral social media marketing campaign urging Victoria’s Secret to rent her for its runway present and, in doing so, make her the model’s first transgender mannequin of shade. She wasn’t profitable. 

She’s additionally been candid in regards to the private struggles she confronted alongside the way in which. As a toddler, she was raped, and likewise skilled intervals of homelessness all through her adolescence. 

Talking to HuffPost in 2018, Bloom mentioned she was decided to make use of her visibility and voice to result in actual change within the style business. 

“We’re not in that point zone anymore that when you communicate up you get blacklisted. Everybody can communicate up,” she mentioned. “We want extra individuals out right here saying that is what I would like and deserve. Respect me, don’t fetishize me, defend me. I believe that’s the place it begins.”

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