7 Photos From Valentina Sampaio’s Historical 2020 SI Swimsuit Photo Shoot

Three years ago, the model became the first transgender woman to appear in the magazine.
Valentina Sampaio was photographed by Josie Clough in Scrub Island, British Virgin Islands.

Valentina Sampaio was photographed by Josie Clough in Scrub Island, British Virgin Islands.

Valentina Sampaio made history with her SI Swimsuit debut in 2020. She was the first transgender model to appear in the magazine after her photo shoot with Josie Clough in Scrub Island, British Virgin Islands. She returned to the issue the following year and was captured by Ben Watts in Hollywood, Fla.

The Brazilian native became Victoria’s Secret’s first openly transgender model in 2019. The 26-year-old still models today and has walked the runway or starred in campaigns for major brands including Armani Beauty, Tory Burch, Diesel and Bottega Veneta.

“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,” she wrote on IG at the time of her first SI Swimsuit feature. “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.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.”

Below are seven of our favorite photos from her historic SI Swimsuit feature.


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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.