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Leyna Bloom becomes the first Black and Pinay transgender model for 'Sports Illustrated'

By Camille Santiago Published Mar 18, 2021 2:29 pm

Model and activist Leyna Bloom is back with yet another successful gig as the first transgender Black and Asian woman to be the latest rookie of Sports Illustrated’s famed Swimsuit Issue.

Sports Illustrated’s editor-in-chief MJ Day announced the news on Instagram describing the Filipina-American model as “legendary,” “strikingly gorgeous,” and for having “an undeniable sense of self that shines through the minute she walks on set.”

“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.

The editor ended her statement saying that they are “honored to have the model in this year’s issue” and that they chose her “because of her beauty, commitment and desire to leave the world a better place.”

This moment is bigger than my wildest infinite dreams. In this moment, I am a representation of all the communities I grew from, and all the communities I’m planting seeds in.

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A post shared by Leyna Bloom (@leynabloom)

Bloom also happily shared this milestone on her own social media page.

“This is what it looks like to be in full bloom,” the proud Pinay wrote on Instagram sharing a photo from the editorial.

“My spirit has reached new levels. This moment is bigger than my wildest infinite dreams. In this moment, I am a representation of all the communities I grew from, and all the communities I’m planting seeds in,” she added.

Bloom thanked the publication saying, “Thank you @si_swimsuit for allowing me to showcase my heavenly form.” She added, “Before my feet even touched the sand, you all wanted to celebrate the temple of my body and the deepest part of my spiritual universe. Your kindness has given me so much hope in the humanity of entertainment industry.”

She also thanked her glam team, her friend YuTsai, and her mentor Thaddeus Laday. “We have so much work to do, ‘cause a new journey has just begun.”

Bloom, who is Black and Filipino, has always pushed for diversity, and has one of the many “firsts” under her belt. She was the first trans woman of color to headline a film at Cannes, she became one of the first openly transgender models on the runway at New York Fashion Week, and also the first transgender woman of color in Vogue India.

Photo from Sports Illustrated