Leyna Bloom was celebrated because the first trans lady of colour to look in a difficulty of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit when the mannequin was introduced as a 2021 rookie of the journal again in March. But simply 4 months later, Bloom is taking the world by storm as the primary trans lady to ever grace the quilt of the journal — an honor that she credit to ladies of marginalized communities that blazed the path earlier than her.
“I can live freely. I can live out in the open. The trans models and the trans bodies that have been in the entertainment business could not do that. They had to hide who they were so they can just eat, so they can just have a dream,” Bloom tells Yahoo Life. “Knowing that history of where I come from, on the shoulders that I’m standing on, I have to do my part. I have to pay homage. I have to remind them. And that’s exactly what I did when I received the call that I was on Sports Illustrated.”
The 27-year-old spoke to the significance of her inclusion within the journal when she teased her look in its pages. She explains that she even known as the trans men and women who paved the best way to thank them for a possibility like this. Still, she did not but know that she’d be representing her many identities on the journal’s iconic cowl.
“I am an embodiment of many different intersections of life,” Bloom says, noting that she is a trans lady of Black and Asian descent. “When we put our phones down and we go out in the world, you see police brutality on the backs of Black and brown bodies. You see Asian people being hurt, being bullied, being harassed. You see trans bodies showing up in alleys dead, you know, it’s cold case after cold case. These are very, very serious topics. And when you take someone that represents all of that and say, we’re putting this person on the cover, because this is what we think is important, not just beautiful, it really allows us to know that there is still good in the world.”
And whereas she can not solely characterize every of those marginalized communities, Bloom makes certain to do her half in giving them a voice.
“I’m so lucky to have the privilege, and I am very privileged to have this opportunity because other trans bodies in the world do not have the same privilege I have,” she says. “They might not be able to have the conversation, but the fact that I’m there, I have to speak up for them. And I have to make sure that people understand that we are here and we deserve these opportunities, and I am so lucky to be born in a time when I can do that. It’s monumental what we can do with this opportunity.”
Bloom additionally embraces the chance to open the hearts and minds of individuals all over the world to the transgender neighborhood.
“Honestly, me walking outside and me just being unapologetically myself makes people very nervous and that’s OK. There are things in this world that make me nervous, but they’re here. They have purpose and they deserve to be respected. And if you don’t like it, you can go somewhere else,” she says. “I’m here to just invite you to think differently. I’m here to give you an opportunity for you to just take a second out of your life, to just look left or look right. And if you don’t like what you see, you can turn your eye and that’s all I need.”
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit‘s editor-in-chief MJ Day tells Yahoo Life that Bloom’s inclusion within the 2021 concern titled “Opening Eyes, Speaking Truths, Changing Minds” is supposed to just do that.
“Leyna is one of the most incredibly kind, caring, patient, invested, compassionate human beings,” Day says. “I don’t know how much middle America has ever had the opportunity to meet someone as special as her. And once they do, they’re going to see what’s so great about her.”
Bloom provides, “In 50 years I want to look back and say, ‘This is when the world changed. And this was a moment that changed it in some way, shape or form. This was one of the moments that changed the world. It changed the way people thought.’”
And whereas it is only the start of what is to come back for trans illustration, Bloom is stuffed with hope.
“I see happiness, I see opportunity. I see that I come from a rich history of rich bloodlines full of people that are breathing through me and I want to make them proud,” she says. “This is why I do what I do.”
Read extra from Yahoo Life:
Want life-style and wellness information delivered to your inbox? Sign up right here for Yahoo Life’s e-newsletter.