Banks, the first Black woman to cover the swimsuit edition, praises Bloom for becoming the first trans woman to do the same — and the trailblazing model responds.

By Joey Nolfi
July 20, 2021 at 09:46 AM EDT
Advertisement

Tyra Banks is praising Leyna Bloom and Megan Thee Stallion for carrying on her fashionable legacy nearly 25 years after she became the first Black woman on the cover of the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition.

"I am proud to know this beauty, @leynabloom, and so excited to have a front row seat to her making history as the FIRST TRANS WOMAN ON THE COVER," the America's Next Top Model creator and Dancing With the Stars host shared on Instagram. "This is MAJOR. And she's just getting started. Show her LOVE in the comments."

Bloom, an actress and model known for Port Authority and Pose, responded with praise for Banks' "leadership" in the industry, telling the iconic supermodel that her boundary-breaking 1997 Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover "inspired so many" — including herself.

"I'm so happy that I can make you proud," she wrote in a comment under Banks' post. "You are [an] amazing [woman]."

Though it's a major turning point for LGBTQIA+ representation in media, Bloom's Sports Illustrated cover isn't the only one making headlines: Stallion's 2021 swimsuit edition cover is the first for a rapper, while tennis superstar Naomi Osaka's drew praise from readers as well.

Stallion also told PEOPLE that one of her earliest memories was seeing Banks — who conducted a video interview (above) with Stallion for the 2021 swimsuit issue — on the cover of the magazine back in the '90s, and has used it as a guiding force of inspiration throughout her career.

"I remember thinking, 'Wow, this girl looks like me!' Here is this stunning Black woman owning her curves and it made a big impact," she said. "It made me think, maybe I can be on the cover of SI Swim one day," she said. "And guess what — I am!"

1997 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Cover. Tyra Banks; LEYNA BLOOM SI Swim cover
Tyra Banks praises Leyna Bloom for becoming the first trans woman on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
| Credit: Russell James/Sports Illustrated; Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated

In addition to gushing over Sports Illustrated's progressive year, Banks recently voiced "proud" support for the nixing of the Victoria's Secret Angels — another fashion avenue she helped pave throughout her career on the catwalk — and the brand's evolution toward inclusivity of more body types via its new VS Collective initiative featuring Priyanka Chopra, Megan Rapinoe, trans model Valentina Sampaio, and more.

See all three 2021 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition covers on the publication's website.

Subscribe to EW's BINGE podcast for full recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race, including our new season diving into all five All Stars seasons, featuring exclusive interviews with Jujubee, Alexis Mateo, Shea Couleé, Alaska, Detox, BenDeLaCreme, Kennedy Davenport, and moreAnd be sure to catch up on our BINGE recaps of RuPaul's Drag Race seasons 1-13 with Symone, Jaida Essence Hall, Trixie Mattel, Katya, Peppermint, Bianca Del Rio, Bob the Drag Queen, Sasha Velour, and more!

Related content:

Comments