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Sports Illustrated Covers Feature Its First Trans Woman, Rapper, Black Athlete
By Alexa Heah, 20 Jul 2021
Image via Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition
Sports Illustrated magazine has released the 2021 edition of its most famous issue: the Swimsuit Edition. This year, the star-studded issue doesn’t just come with one cover, but three, all of which are milestones in their own right.
The first cover features model and actress Leyna Bloom, making her the first trans person to appear on the cover of the magazine. Alongside her are covers featuring rapper Megan Thee Stallion, as well as Olympic tennis star Naomi Osaka, who will be the first rapper and first Black woman athlete to grace the cover respectively, as per ELLE.
In an Instagram post showcasing her Sports Illustrated cover, Bloom said: “I dedicate this cover to all ballroom femme queens past, present, and future. This historical moment is important to #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. I hope my cover empowers those who are struggling to be seen, feel valued. Let me be a messenger guiding us to a future of respect and appreciation for all women in all forms and from all walks of life.”
Both Bloom and Osaka’s covers were shot by famous celebrity photographer Yu Tsai, while Stallion worked with James Macari. Each of the covers also don an inspiring header, which reads: “Opening eyes, Speaking Truths, Changing Minds. “
MJ Day, the Editor-in-Chief of the Swimsuit Edition, said Bloom’s story “represents one grounded in resilience,” and the magazine “couldn’t be more thrilled to help her tell it.”
“Her presence as the first trans woman of color to be in our issue is a result of her lifetime dedication of forging her own path.”
Take a look at the gorgeous magazine covers below.
[via ELLE, cover image via Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition]
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