Q&A With SI Swimsuit Legend Leyna Bloom

The 2021 cover model returns to the fold for her fourth consecutive brand feature.
Leyna Bloom was photographed by Yu Tsai in Hollywood, Fla. Dress by Maria Lucia Hohan. Shoes by Black Suede Studio. Jewelry by Charlie Lapson.
Leyna Bloom was photographed by Yu Tsai in Hollywood, Fla. Dress by Maria Lucia Hohan. Shoes by Black Suede Studio. Jewelry by Charlie Lapson. / Yu Tsai /Sports Illustrated

Turning 60 has never looked so good. To celebrate the big milestone in style, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit called upon 27 “Legends”—women of all ages, sizes, tribes and backgrounds—who epitomize trailblazing influence and game-changing impact. 

From supermodel OGs who made their first splash on the magazine’s glossy pages in the 1970s and ’80s to stars newer to the SI Swimsuit sisterhood—the Legends symbolize diversity, inclusivity, empowerment and self-love.  

“The Legends hold the power to represent the collective us,” SI Swimsuit editor in chief MJ Day says. “Each one has played a significant role in the brand’s last 10 years, holding important conversations that have helped shift societal perceptions and led to incredible change for women.” 

The Legends had plenty to say in their one-on-one interviews, held during a three-day SI Swimsuit event at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., where photo shoots for the 60th anniversary issue were underway amidst a flurry of glam teams, wardrobe stylists and veteran fashion lensmen. The Legends were unfiltered, funny, wise, compassionate, profound, and at times, searingly honest—proving that a woman’s inner beauty is her most important superpower of all.   

See more from the Legends photo shoot here.

Leyna Bloom made history in 2021 when she became the first transgender woman to be featured on the cover of the SI Swimsuit Issue. She’s returned to the fold each year since, and becomes a brand legend with the publication of the 60th anniversary magazine.

What does being an SI Swimsuit Legend mean to you?

“It means that life took me on a mission, and I arrived to a new home, surrounded by beautiful, powerful women. That is a legacy we all understand in some way, coming from Mother Earth, coming from our mothers, and celebrating the beauty of femininity and the intelligence that comes with it. SI Swimsuit and all the women represent all that in all their different likenesses and shapes and sizes, which is what the world looks like.”

Leyna Bloom
Leyna Bloom was photographed by Yu Tsai in Hollywood, Fla. Dress by Maria Lucia Hohan. Shoes by Black Suede Studio. Jewelry by Charlie Lapson. / Yu Tsai /Sports Illustrated

View Leyna Bloom’s 2024 Legends photo gallery here.

Describe yourself in three words.

“Immortal, universal, infinite.”

What do you love most about being a woman?

“It’s not even about being a woman. It’s about just being a human who understands the beauty of femininity and masculinity. Womanhood has many different looks—from many different people, from many different walks of life. The thing about my femininity is that it involves love, and it brings love. And that’s what femininity and womanhood and all life should be about. 

“It should come from love and patience and timing and pain and grief and knowing that you’re carrying something or you’re carrying an idea that can hold so much power. That’s what it means to be a human on earth. That’s what we're here for. 

“Every conversation you have can change your life and put it on the trajectory where the universe wants it to be. That’s the power we have in this beautiful life. Never limit yourself. Be limitless—you have the ability to be any person you want to be. And no one can say anything because it’s your life. You gotta live.”

What do you love most about being yourself?

“I love that I was born in a body with a mind that came to earth to fully take up space and create change in every essence and every second of my life. That is what I was born to do.”

Leyna Bloom
Leyna Bloom was photographed by Yu Tsai in Hollywood, Fla. Dress by Maria Lucia Hohan. Shoes by Black Suede Studio. Jewelry by Charlie Lapson. / Yu Tsai /Sports Illustrated

What does empowerment mean to you?

“Empowerment means always being open to change, always open to new ideas. Always being in a place where you’re never giving up, you’re always pushing forward, and every step you take is with power.”

What do you think is your life’s purpose?

“My life’s purpose was always to just live in every essence of my likeness, and not to regret it or be afraid of it. If we all just go out into the world and be exactly who we are, we’ll affect so much change. 

“The most collective reason we are all here on earth is to invite people to start thinking differently. The closer we come together to have those conversations, the more we will see the world.”

What are you most excited about in your life right now?

“The most exciting thing in my life right now is my ability to be present and in a peaceful place, appreciating life amidst the changing world—just enjoying the hard work and the smallest things, which deserve huge accolades. Waking up every day feels like a significant achievement, and I enjoy that moment.”


Published
Tara Solomon

TARA SOLOMON