Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition gets first trans cover star – plus two other history makers

Model Leyna Bloom has become the first trans woman to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

She joins Megan Thee Stallion as the magazine’s first rapper cover star, and tennis ace Naomi Osaka as the first female black athlete and first Haitian and Japanese woman to grace the front page.

It’s also the first time that three black women have been part of the magazine’s cover line-up.

Writing in a lengthy Instagram post, Bloom said: “This moment heals a lot of pain in the world. We deserve this moment; we have waited millions of years to show up as survivors and be seen as full humans filled with wonder.

“I’m am so happy, honored, and humbled to share that I’m the 1st trans woman to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated!”

She added: “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.

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

More on Megan Thee Stallion

“I hope my cover empowers those, who are struggling to be seen, feel valued.”

Bloom follows Valentina Sampaio, who was the first trans woman to be featured in the magazine’s inside pages last July.

Megan Thee Stallion scored three wins at this year's Grammys. Pic: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Image: Megan Thee Stallion scored three wins at this year’s Grammys. Pic: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Grammy-winning rapper Megan Thee Stallion also celebrated her history-making appearance on Instagram, writing: “REAL SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT EDITION COVER MODEL S***!!!

“Thee first female rapper on the cover of @si_swimsuit.

“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!!”

Osaka’s inclusion on the magazine’s, however, led to attacks from media commentators.

Japan's Naomi Osaka during her first round match at the French Open
Image: Japan’s Naomi Osaka quit the French Open earlier this year

Osaka recently withdrew from the French Open, after she refused to speak to the media in what she described as an effort to protect her mental health.

But since then, she has appeared in Vogue and Sports Illustrated and launched a Netflix series – leading some to accuse her of hypocrisy.

The athlete has blocked journalists Megyn Kelly and Piers Morgan after they suggested Osaka does not want to face hostile media.

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The Japanese star, who is training for her home Olympics in Tokyo, said in a now-deleted response to Kelly: “Seeing as you’re a journalist I would’ve assumed you would take the time to research what the lead times are for magazines, if you did that you would’ve found out I shot all of my covers last year.

“Instead your first reaction is to hop on here and spew negativity, do better Megan (sic).”

Morgan wrote on Twitter that “the only media Ms Osaka wants to tolerate are sycophantic magazine editors telling her how perfect she is”.

Kelly posted: “She is apparently arguing that she shot her many covers b/4 publicly claiming she was too socially anxious to deal w/press. Truth is she just doesn’t like Qs she can’t control. Admit it.”

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