Valentina Sampaio is the first transgender Sports Illustrated swimsuit model

The first transgender Sports Illustrated swimsuit model is Valentina Sampaio. Hailing from a (as she put it)  “remote, humble fishing village in northern Brazil” she has faced many challenges. These challenges have included everything from insults to physical violence.  However, through the years she has cut a path for herself . The next Victory on Valentina Sampaio will be as the first transgender sports illustrated swimsuit. However, this is not her first victory as a transgender supermodel. That victory was the result of her becoming the first openly transgender Vogue Paris model. Since then every one of her achievements has been a victory for the transgender community.

Progress and Challenges


Valentina Sampaio has made truly tremendous strides for the transgender community. This can be seen from the moment she joined forces with Sports Illustrated in their diversity issue in 2019. Since the she has praised Sports Illustrated for showing progressive initiative. The same initiative as the Girl Scouts of America and Miss Universe in recognizing the talent of women like her. However, she has faced many challenges over the course of her life. She describes these challenges beginning from young age growing up in Brazil. She describes her homeland as a beautiful but dangerous place for transgender’s.

This is especially evident due to the fact that the country has one of the highest murder rates of transgenders. As Valentina Sampaio said it’s “three times that of the US”. Many in the transgender community share Valentina Sampaio life experience.  While options for work, social life, and family life do exist they are not numerous or easily followed. That being said Valentina Sampaio has made great strides for the community. Being a Victoria’s Secret model was one of the greatest. She became a Victoria’s Secret model a year after a former marketing manager stated the company would not hire transgenders.

Leave a Comment