Transgender model that Leyna Bloom made Sports Illustrated Swimsuit history for the second time after she became the first-ever trans cover star to pose on the cover of the magazine—weeks after she was named as the first black and Asian trans woman to feature on its pages.
The 27-year-old fashion star is one of three women to do a cover shoot for this year’s issue of the iconic magazine, posing on the cover of a version of the publication, while tennis star Naomi Osaka and rapper Megan Thee Stallion on the other TWO.
Her cover shows Leyna posing in a low-cut white one-piece swimsuit, kneeling in the sand on a beach and pouting seductively at the camera. Grand Slam winner Naomi, 23, also modeled a one-piece for her cover shoot, taking on a power pose while wearing a leather swimsuit with several transparent panels, allowing her to fully show off her athletic figure.
Megan, 26, is the only cover star to appear in a bikini – a skimpy beige design with a zip up front, which seductively pulls the Savage rapper down as she stares into the camera.
History maker: Model Leyna Bloom becomes the first ever transgender woman to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit, weeks after she made history as the first black and Asian trans star
On view: Tennis pro Naomi Osaka has also posted a cover of this year’s edition, which comes just weeks after she was dropped from the French Open following a raging controversy over her refusal to do press during the tournament
Three is the magic number! Savage rapper Megan Thee Stallion grabbed the third cover of this year’s issue, the chart’s first appearance in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit
According to the magazine’s editor-in-chief, MJ Day, the three women were chosen to show that “beauty comes in many forms” and to showcase Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’s commitment to bringing more “diversity” and “inclusiveness” to its pages. , to ‘strengthen’. .
“If there’s one thing our cover models have in common, it’s that they don’t have one thing in common,” MJ said in a statement. “They look different, have different upbringings, have different passions and inspirations.
But each is a reminder that beauty comes in many forms.
Leyna Bloom makes history as the first transgender cover model in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit history, and the first trans person of color to appear on our pages, confirming the fact that the more diverse and inclusive a community, the stronger it becomes.
“We celebrate Naomi for her passion, strength and strength focused on consistently breaking down barriers when it comes to equality, social justice and mental health.
“As for Megan Thee Stallion, she’s a magnetic powerhouse who’s taking the world by storm. Together, these women represent three of the most powerful voices today.’
In a series of videos shared on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Instagram account, the three women were seen talking about their cover shoots – they were surprised with the images by MJ.
Leyna described the moment as a “dream come true,” while admitting she never thought she’d even get a shoot in the pages of the magazine, let alone be one of the cover stars.
“I remember the first time I saw a Sports Illustrated issue for Swimsuit, when Tyra Banks was on the cover,” she said.
“I was just like, wow. And you flip through the pages and you see so many different races and colors and body types.
“And you think something like this would probably never happen to me, but this is beautiful to see. This represents all these different women.
“So fast forward years later, my agent called me and he said, ‘You’re going to be a Sports Illustrated model!’
“It’s like the universe is circling again and saying, ‘Your moment is now.’ It’s a real dream come true.’
Boundary breaker: In March, the magazine revealed several behind-the-scenes images and videos from Leyna’s shoot, which revealed that she would become the first-ever black and Asian transgender model to appear on its pages
The three women were first revealed on Monday morning as this year’s cover stars; while Leyna was previously revealed as one of the models in the 2021 issue, the participation of both Megan and Naomi was kept a closely guarded secret, with no photos of the two ladies being shared prior to the cover announcement.
In March, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit shared photos and behind-the-scenes videos from Leyna’s shoot, with the trans model at the time being candid to GMA about her groundbreaking achievement.
“I never thought I’d be born in a time when something like this would happen to someone my skin color and someone my background,” she said.
“This is a magazine that says we can be beautiful in all shapes and sizes, and we should be loved, because we’re not often seen that way.”
Naomi’s appearance on the front of the magazine comes just days after the tennis star debuted a Netflix documentary, in which she speaks out about her struggle to cope with the “ridiculous amount of attention” she receives amid outraged reactions to her refusal. to fulfill one of her media obligations at this year’s French Open.
In May, Naomi announced that she would not participate in press conferences at the tournament, releasing a statement on Twitter citing her mental health as the reason for her decision not to speak to the press.
Naomi was fined $15,000 by officials for refusing to appear before the media after her first-round match, with organizers saying she would face “higher fines and future Grand Slam suspensions” if she continued her boycott. Shortly after, the tennis star withdrew from the tournament altogether.
In her Netflix docu-series, Naomi spoke about her decision to drop out of the French Open, while being candid about her struggles with depression and anxiety that began after her win over Serena Williams in the US Open final in 2018.
Naomi won the match 6-2, 6-4, but her win was overshadowed by the bitter controversy that erupted over Serena’s on-court feuds with Portugal’s chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who imposed a series of fines on her.
As a result of the drama on the pitch, Naomi found herself at the center of a media frenzy and she has remained very much in the limelight ever since.
“Before I won the US Open, so many people told my father I would never be anything,” she said.
“I think the amount of attention I’m getting is pretty ridiculous – nobody prepares you for that. I always have this pressure to maintain this sweet pea image, but now I don’t care what anyone has to say.’