Leyna Bloom is the first first Black and Filipino transgender woman to be featured in a Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated. Bloom, who is Black and Filipina, is only the second transgender woman to ever be featured in a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Last year, Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio became the first.
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue editor-in-chief MJ Day called Bloom's cover a "culmination of our powerful community coming together," and said the magazine was thrilled to help share her story. Bloom dedicates the cover to all ballroom femme queens past, present and future. She says this is a historical moment for #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. She hopes to empower those who are struggling to be seen and feel valued. Looking to be a messenger guiding others, she looks to a future full of respect and appreciation for all women in all forms and from all walks of life.
In addition to her modeling career, Bloom is also an actress. The Chicago native appeared in the final season of FX's "Pose" and also starred in "Asking For It," which premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival. In 2019, she became the first transgender woman of color to have a leading role in movie featured at the Cannes Film Festival.
Cover Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit