Valentina Sampaio made headlines last year as the first transgender model hired by Victoria’s Secret to represent their Pink brand. But before we get into Valentina’s specs and her new groundbreaking cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, can we talk about how Brazil keeps producing these stunning people? Like what are they eating over there? Is there some ritual where I have to sacrifice a baby goat or something? I am sure Sampaio found a kindred spirit in SI’s female editor, MJ Day, a champion of body positivity and inclusivity. Day made a statement in 2017 when she posted a picture of her bikini-clad post-pregnancy body on her Instagram account. Last year, she got supermodel Tyra Banks to come out of retirement to recreate her iconic SI cover. Tyra is hot and MJ is my new hero. Appearing on SI as the first trans model ever is just one in a series of firsts for Valentina:
In 2017 she became the first trans woman to appear on the cover of Vogue Paris. Two years later, she was the first openly transgender model to be hired by Victoria’s Secret. Now in 2020, 23-year-old Valentina Sampaio continues to break barriers in the modeling industry by becoming the first trans woman to be featured by Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Sports Illustrated is a respected brand in the modeling world. In the 56 years since special edition’s first issue, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has produced some of the most successful names in the business. Sampaio is joining the elite ranks alongside stars like Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks. In Sampaio’s open essay on what it means to be part of SI, she praises the magazine for creating another issue that champions “a diverse set of multitalented, beautiful women in a creative and dignified way.” She says she is “excited and honored to be part of the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.” While it means a lot to her to represent SI, she is even more inspired by the significance it has for the LGBTQ community as a whole. Sampaio, who hails from a fishing village in northern Brazil, is using her platform to fight for trans rights. She explains that the beauty of her home country is contrasted by the brutal hatred towards the transgender community. She says that in 2019 alone, 129 transgender people were murdered in Brazil.
[From CNN Valentina’s star will keep rising and with it a new champion for trans rights. I hope at some point she’ll write a tell-all book on Brazilian beauty secrets so that we all can benefit. It’s not fair that Brazil gets to corner the market in hotness. In all seriousness, I look forward to following Sampaio’s career because I know that this won’t be her last first. Embed from Getty Images//
Photos credit: Getty, Avalon.red and via Instagram