Leyna Bloom, a biological man who identifies as a woman, has become the first openly trans cover model in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue history.
Bloom’s dream of landing the front cover of the sports world’s most famed magazine began in 1997, after looking through the pages of the Bikini Bible on her father’s coffee table, Page Six reports.
“When they told me I got the cover, I spoke to my dad,” Bloom told Page Six.
“I was like, ‘When I was looking at that magazine … I was looking into my future. You were giving me the tools I needed to see myself, to know that I could be there, that I could inspire, that one day I could be a part of this.’”
“This cover and this moment represent what it looks like in the future,” Bloom said while remarking on the significance of landing the magazine cover.
Bloom added, “Being a person of trans experience growing up in the world, there was no representation of that [in fashion], so I felt like I could never do this.
The Swimsuit Issue’s cover star saw the pursuit of the cover as an exercise in creating a new genre.
“I think it [was] just putting myself out there, knowing that I was born in a world I didn’t fit in, so I have to create one that I do. I just wanted to be seen in the world and let people know that people like me do exist, and we are beautiful.”
Bloom stressed that being picked for the Swimsuit Issue cover is just the beginning of a larger change in fashion and style as it pertains to trans people.
“We just honestly have to keep moving,” Bloom said. “This is not my first time making history, and this is probably not going to be my last. I want to just go out in the world and not limit myself.”
Bloom continued, “The world is changing, and people need to see the fact that, wow, this is the beginning of it. This is what it looks like, and it’s so beautiful.”