Leyna Bloom Celebrates "Powerful Moment" As Sports Illustrated’s First Ever Transgender Cover Star

“For girls like me, most dreams are just fanciful hopes in a world that often erases and omits our history, even existence," Leyna Bloom said after becoming SI's first transgender cover star.

By Kisha Forde Jul 19, 2021 4:03 PMTags
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Name a more iconic trio. We'll wait…
Tennis star Naomi Osaka, rapper Megan Thee Stallion and transgender model Leyna Bloom, all grace the covers of Sports Illustrated's 2021 Swimsuit Issue, which is "Opening Eyes, Speaking Truths and Changing Minds."

For their covers, Osaka struck a pose in a one-shoulder, leather and sheer one piece while MTS slipped into a tan two-piece bikini and Bloom wore a one piece with a plunging neckline. There is plenty more to celebrate than just their fashion and physique: The Grammy winner is the first rapper to grace SI's cover while Bloom is the first transgender model. (She dedicated the achievement to "all ballroom femme queens past, present and future.")

"I am so happy, honored and humbled to share that I'm the 1st trans woman to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated!" she wrote on Instagram July 19. "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."

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue 50th Anniversary Party

"This moment is so powerful because it allows me to live forever even after my physical form is gone," she continued. "Not a lot of people get to live in the future, so at this moment, I'm proudly choosing to live forever."

Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated

As for MTS, she's also in shock of her historic achievement. "REAL SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT EDITION COVER MODEL S--T!!!" she wrote on Instagram. "I want to thank all the strong women in my life who inspired me to love my body and live my best hot girl life. It means the world to me to be on this cover, DREAM COME TRUE!!"

James Macari/ Sports Illustrated

Among those also featured within the coveted swimsuit issue? Singer Tinashe, actress Olivia Culpo, and model Camille Kostek. The swimsuit issue hits newsstands July 22.

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