6 Fantastic Photos From Leyna Bloom’s Historic SI Swim Cover Photoshoot in Florida

The model and actress landed on the front of the 2021 issue as a rookie.
Leyna Bloom

Leyna Bloom was photographed by Yu Tsai in Tampa, Fla.


Leyna Bloom is a force of nature in front of the camera and out in the world. The actress, activist and model made her SI Swimsuit debut in 2021, when she posed for photographer Yu Tsai in Tampa, Fla. She landed on the cover of that year’s issue as a rookie, and made history as the first transgender woman to be featured on the front of the magazine.

The dancer and professionally trained hairstylist has returned to model for the brand every year since, traveling to Belize in 2022 and Dominica this year.

The Illinois native, who is of Filipino and African-American descent, made waves in the film and modeling industries in 2019, when she was the only transgender model of color to walk the runway at Paris Fashion Week. She also starred in Port Authority, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival as the first-ever entry to cast a trans woman of color in a leading role

“You’ve got to really take up space. If it’s your moment to shine, even if you got five seconds, take up that space. You don’t know who’s looking at you, who is inspired by you, who is like, ‘I finally found the one that looks like me, that feels like me, that comes from where I come from, and they are doing it,’” Bloom said about serving as representation for future generations. “It’s so beautiful—the fact that we get to meet so many people from different walks of life, young people, older people, all different sizes and shapes and colors and creeds. We’re being exposed to what the future looks like.”

Below are six of our favorite photos from her SI Swimsuit debut in Tampa, Fla.

Leyna Bloom
Leyna Bloom
Leyna Bloom
Leyna Bloom
Leyna Bloom
Leyna Bloom

Now through Nov. 1, 100% of SI Swimsuit’s portion of proceeds from cover prints purchased here will be donated to the Maui Strong Fund, which is helping to support the people and places of Maui affected by the recent wildfires.

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Ananya Panchal

ANANYA PANCHAL

Ananya Panchal is a NYC-based Lifestyle & Trending News writer at SI Swimsuit. Before joining the Swim team, the Boston University Alum worked for culture & entertainment beats at Bustle, The San Francisco Chronicle and the TODAY Show. When Ananya is not writing or doom-scrolling on social media, she can be found playing sudoku, rewatching One Tree Hill or trying new restaurants. She's also a coffee and chocolate (separately) enthusiast.