Leyna Bloom is breaking barriers every day and doing so by following her passions. The 28-year-old model first nurtured her love of dance, becoming a prominent member of the ballroom dance community. She then took her skills to the modeling industry, becoming one of the few openly transgender models to walk the runway during New York Fashion Week in 2017. That was followed by more firsts, including becoming the first transgender woman of color to appear in Vogue India and being the only transgender model at the 2019 Paris Fashion Week. Glamour named the Chicago native one of the “Six Women Who Are Shaping The Future of Fashion” in the fall of 2018.
After proving she could command a dance floor and runway, Bloom turned her attention to the acting world, where she once again broke a barrier. Her acting debut in the 2019 film Port Authority was the first leading role played by a transgender woman of color ever to feature at the Cannes Film Festival.
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Not surprisingly, these numerous change-making accolades caught the eye of SI Swimsuit, who had the honor of first featuring the model in its 2021 issue. Bloom’s striking presence in front of the camera, along with her activism for transgender youth and gender equality, clearly made her cover-worthy: she made history once again as the first transgender cover model in SI Swimsuit history and the first trans person of color to appear in the magazine.
The activist continues to use her platform to inspire others to follow their passions and be who they want to be. “I think there are people in this world that are born to do certain things,” she says. “I knew as a very young child that I had to do something. This is the lane I’ve chosen to walk down to make moments that are not just about being beautiful. We’re celebrating the future of womanhood.”
The only question left to ask is where does Bloom’s passion lead her next? We can’t wait to find out.
Beginning on International Women’s Day (March 8), the Pay With Change initiative will be front and center on SI Swim channels through daily spotlights on the women, brands and properties making a concerted effort to fight for women’s equality.