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Valentina Sampaio: In Her Own Words

Valentina Sampaio pens a personal essay on what it means to be a part of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.

I am excited and honored to be part of the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. The team at SI has created yet another groundbreaking issue by bringing together a diverse set of multitalented, beautiful women in a creative and dignified way.

I was born trans in a remote, humble fishing village in northern Brazil. Brazil is a beautiful country, but it also hosts the highest number of violent crimes and murders against the trans community in the world—three times that of the U.S.

Valentina Sampaio was photographed by Josie Clough in Guana Island, BVI. Swimsuit by TRIANGL.

Valentina Sampaio was photographed by Josie Clough in Guana Island, BVI. Swimsuit by TRIANGL.

Being trans usually means facing closed doors to peoples’ hearts and minds. We face snickers, insults, fearful reactions and physical violations just for existing. Our options for growing up in a loving and accepting family, having a fruitful experience at school or finding dignified work are unimaginably limited and challenging.

I recognize that I am one of the fortunate ones, and my intention is to honor that as best I can.

Valentina Sampaio was photographed by Josie Clough in Scrub Island, BVI. Swimsuit by HAUS OF PINK LEMONAID.

Valentina Sampaio was photographed by Josie Clough in Scrub Island, BVI. Swimsuit by HAUS OF PINK LEMONAID.

What unites us as humans is that we all share the common desire to be accepted and loved for who we are.

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.