Valentina Sampaio: who is the first trans model on Sports Illustrated?

In recent times, Sports Illustrated has shown that he wants to play a pioneering role in the field of inclusiveness through his covers. It happened with Ashley Graham, it happened with Nicola Griffin and now also with Valentina Sampaio, first trans model declared to arrive on the cover of the Swimsuit Issue of the magazine.

“I was hit by so many emotions and so happiness when I heard the news. Being in the YES Swim has always been one of my career goals. It’s a dream come true on so many levels, “Valentina said to people. “Coming from a place of fear and marginalization and now being included in one of the most iconic magazines that carries on the themes of diversity by celebrating them … is truly a turning point in life”.

But who is Valentina Sampaio?

Born in Aquiraz, Brazil, Valentina Sampaio, now 26 years old, already has an important career in the modeling field. Already appeared on the cover of Tips Clear Paris, Vanity Fair, Elle and L’Officiel, Valentina can boast collaborations with fashion houses such as Dior, Moschino, Marc Jacobs and brands such as H&M and L’Oreal. Among the various milestones of her life, one cannot fail to mention her being the first openly trans model to have worked with Victoria’s Secret.

Valentina Sampaio (Photo by Gotham / GC Images)

© Gotham

A life, that of the Brazilian model, which (as she reveals herself) was anything but simple. “I was born a trans in a small, remote fishing village in northern Brazil. Brazil is a wonderful land, but inside there is the highest rate of crime and murder against the trans community. Three times the number of victims of United States, “he wrote on Instagram commenting on the news of his presence on Sports Illustrated and reiterating his role as an activist for the LGBTQ + community.

A great result for the model but above all a concrete sign, in times when transphobia has sadly returned to the headlines, of the importance of collapsing, one by one, all the diktats of mental closure on which it was based, and still perhaps it is based, our society.

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