Corporate media is lauding Leyna Bloom, the first black and Asian transgender to model in Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit Issue.
“Leyna is legendary in the world of activism, strikingly gorgeous, and has an undeniable sense of self that shines through the minute she walks on set” MJ Day, editor at Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, wrote in an Instagram caption.
“Her story represents one grounded in resilience and we couldn’t be more thrilled to help her tell it,” Day continued. “Her presence as the first trans woman of color to be in our issue is a result of her lifetime dedication to forging her own path that has led to acceptance, love and change.”
“She represents every person’s right to love themselves and be who they want to be,” Day added. “We are honored to have her in this year’s issue and understand the effect it will have on so many others. She joins our team, not because of what she represents but because of her beauty, commitment and desire to leave the world a better place.”
“This is what it looks like to be in full bloom,” Bloom wrote in an Instagram caption. “Thank you [Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue] for allowing me to showcase my heavenly form.”
“In this moment, I am a representation of all the communities I grew from, and all the communities I’m planting seeds in,” Bloom added.
Bloom is not the only transgender model to be featured in the magazine.
Last year, Valentina Sampaio became the first transgender model to appear in Sports Illustrated‘s annual Swimsuit Issue as part of the magazine’s attempts to increase the diversity of its showcased swimwear models.
In recent years, the magazine had also added plus-size models and a Muslim model wearing a hijab and a modesty swimsuit.
This week in Nevada, Kataluna Enriquez — another biological male who identifies as a woman — was crowned Miss Silver State USA, besting the biological females in the competition, and putting him in the position to compete for the state’s Miss Nevada USA title.