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Sports Illustrated features its first transgender model

© Belga

The U.S. magazine Sports Illustrated will feature its first ever transgender model, Brazilian Valentina Sampaio, in its famous annual Swimsuit Issue.

“This means a lot,” the 23-year-old model who grew up in a fishing family in northern Brazil, told the ABC channel, “not only to me but for the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.”

The Swimsuit Issue, which presents models in swim gear in paradisiac settings, is an institution in the United States and beyond, even if its influence has diminished in recent years, like the rest of the printed press.

It sold 785,000 copies in its centenary year, 2014.

For a long time, Sports Illustrated focused on white models, but more recently it has opened its pages to other profiles. In 1997, America’s Tyra Banks became the first black model to feature on its front page.

It has also showcased female athletes, such as tennis star Serena Williams and mixed martial arts champion Ronda Rousey.

In 2016, it featured its first full figured woman, U.S. model Ashley Graham, who is a size 18 in clothing.

The edition featuring Valentina Sampaio hits the newsstands on 21 July.

The Brussels Times

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