Going from strength to strength, model Valentina Sampaio has made history by becoming the first openly transgender model to be featured in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue. 

But, even as she continues to succeed in her chosen career, Sampaio does not forget that not everyone with similar experiences is as fortunate.

She has made history multiple times. In 2017, Sampaio became the first openly trans model to appear on the cover of Vogue Paris and in 2019, she became the first openly trans model hired by Victoria’s Secret for its Pink line.

Now, Sampaio is in the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. 

“I am excited and honored to be part of the iconic Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue,” she wrote in an Instagram post. 

 “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 US.”

Sampaio continued writing that being trans usually means facing closed doors to peoples’ hearts and minds. 

 “We face snickers, insults, fearful reactions and physical violations just for existing,” she said. “Our options for growing up in a loving and accepting family, having a fruitful experience at school or finding dignified work are unimaginably limited and challenging.”

Anthony Ramos, GLAAD’s head of talent told the media in a statement that the publication joins institutions from the Girl Scouts Of The USA to Miss Universe in recognising the simple fact that trans women are women. 

“Talented women like Valentina Sampaio deserve to be spotlighted and given equal opportunities,” Ramos said. “Her work in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit is a significant step forward as the modeling industry continues its evolution on traditional standards of inclusion.”

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