CHICAGO — Model Leyna Bloom will make history as the first transgender woman to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue.
The American actress and model, who is Black and Filipino, took to Instagram to thank the publication for “recognizing the importance of representation.”
“This moment heals a lot of pain in the world. We deserve this moment; we have waited millions of years to show up as survivors and be seen as full humans filled with wonder,” she posted on Twitter and Instagram.
Saying she was “so happy, honored, and humbled,” Bloom thanked several people on Instagram, including her “bloodline and father.”
“Thank you for the courage & sacrifices you made to ensure that I stand tall in every step I take. Now I’m flying,” she wrote.
She continued by writing,
I have dreamt a million beautiful dreams, but for girls like me, most dreams are just fanciful hopes in a world that often erases and omits our history and even existence. This moment is so powerful because it allows me to live forever even after my physical form is gone. Not a lot of people get to live in the future, so at this moment, I’m proudly choosing to live forever.
I dedicate this cover to all ballroom femme queens past, present and future. This historical moment is important to #girlslikeus because it allows us to live and be seen. Many girls like us don’t have the chance to live our dreams, or to live long at all. I hope my cover empowers those, who are struggling to be seen, feel valued. Let me be a messenger guiding us to a future of respect and appreciation for all women in all forms and from all walks of life.
I truly believe everything we do and everyone we meet are put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents. We’re all teachers and if you are willing to pay attention to the lessons, trust your positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks, the possibilities are infinite!@Leynabloom
Bloom was photographed by Yu Tsai, to whom she said, “You photographed a young princess on earth and immortalized her. We have made our community proud.”
Bloom, 27, played the role of Pretentia Khan in the television series “Pose,” the role of Zuni in the movie “Fluidity,” and the role of Wye McQueen in the movie “Port Authority,” among others.
Bloom joins tennis star Naomi Osaka and rapper Megan Thee Stallion on one of three swimsuit covers this year.