Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio created history by becoming the first trans woman to be featured by the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, which is a respected brand in the modeling world.

In the 56 years since the first edition, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has been the reason behind the success of many models around the world. The 23-year-old Sampaio is now going to join the elite ranks alongside stars like Heidi Klum.

Who is Valentina Sampaio?

Valentina Sampaio
Valentina Sampaio instagram/valentts

The 23-year-old model hails from a fishing village located in the northern part of Brazil, she has been using her platform for her fighting for the rights of trans people. According to her, there is brutal hatred towards the transgender community in her nation.

She claims that in 2019 alone, 129 trans people got murdered in the South American country. Sampaio believes that it is her responsibility to stand up for the trans population of Brazil. "I recognize that I am one of the fortunate ones and my intention is to honor that as best I can," she wrote in her open essay on what it means to be part of SI, as quoted by CNN.

The 23-year-old became the first transgender woman to appear on the Vogue Paris cover in 2017. She was also hired by Victoria's Secret two years later and became the first openly transgender model to get hired. But her journey as a model has not been that easy as she had to fight against discrimination and will continue to do so. In her essay, she further praised the magazine for selecting her. She claimed that she is excited and honored to be a part of the SI.

Sampaio Thanks SI

She further thanked SI for seeing and respecting her and for understanding that she is also a human. She vowed to spread the message of love and unity around the world and to fight for the people who are marginalized in society.

"Thank you, SI, for seeing and respecting me as I truly am. For understanding that more than anything, I am human. Thank you for supporting me in continuing to spread a message of love, compassion, and unity for ALL," Sampaio said.