Leyna Bloom And Megan Thee Stallion Usher In A Bright Future For Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue

Megan Thee Stallion and Leyna Bloom are doing real hot girl shit. 

And by hot girl shit, I mean gracing the cover (and our eyes) of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. 

There are big firsts here, and while they took a long time to arrive, it’s a big step in the right direction that they are FINALLY here.


The women are, respectively, the first female rapper and the first transgender woman of color to pose for the cover of the SI Swimsuit issue, a title that in the past has been granted to “perfect” models. 

Published earlier this week, the pictures of the “Pose” actress and the “Savage” rapper are stunning, with the added bonus of breaking new ground and jumping a hurdle into the world of representation for models. 

Bloom posted her shots on Instagram, saying “I have dreamt a million beautiful dreams, but for girls like me, most dreams are just fanciful hopes in a world that often erases and omits our history and even existence. This moment is so powerful because it allows me to live forever even after my physical form is gone.”

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A post shared by Leyna Bloom (@leynabloom)

Bloom went on to dedicate the cover “to all the ballroom femme queens past, present and future.”

Megan also took to the gram, writing “REAL SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT EDITION COVER MODEL SHIT!!!! Thee first female rapper on the cover of @si_swimsuit. I want to thank all the strong women in my life who inspired me to love my body and live my best hot girl life.”

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The Evolution of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition

Since the SI Swimsuit edition began nearly 60 years ago, it has been an iconic, coveted spot for models to book — with very few diversions from the blonde or brunette bombshell standing in the water, or straddling the sand, bikini wet and clinging to all the right places, hair perfectly beach tousled. You can see it. If you can’t, check out some of the previous models. 

Another groundbreaker making her debut on the cover is tennis phenom Naomi Osaka. The 23-year-old has made an impact on and off the court, using her platform not just for sport but to advocate for mental health and social justice issues

“I’m so proud to be the first Japanese and Haitian woman to grace one of the covers. I feel like that multi-cultural background is present in all of the things that I do. I try to incorporate it in everything, so hopefully, you see that,” Osaka told Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. “My memories [of the magazine] kind of involves the people that I grew up admiring, so I remember Tyra Banks’s issue, I remember Beyonce’s. Just growing up and watching so many incredible women grace this cover, for me, it feels like a dream.”

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Some small inroads have previously been made, like when Ashley Graham appeared on the cover in 2016. Graham was the first “plus-sized” (ugh, I hate even writing that) model to land the coveted SI spot. 

At size 16, Graham is not “plus-sized” (ugh again) in any other space other than fashion la la land. When her cover debuted, Graham was lauded for being an advocate of the body positivity movement, which was in its infancy and has grown infinitely. 

She was cheered by most, but not by all — SI and Graham faced backlash from the fashion industry and the public for daring to color outside the lines of the typical cover model. 

So to see Bloom and Megan on the cover is a breath of fresh, much-needed air in an industry that has long been non-inclusive. 

Take a deep breath — it smells amazing.


How excited are you to see Sports Illustrated embracing diversity? Let us know in the comments!

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