According to a press release, the 23-year-old model is one of 8 Rookies in this year’s edition, which will hit stands on July 21. For the issue, Valentina was photographed by Josie Clough in a shoot on Scrub Island.
In a statement provided to SI Swim (and also shared to her Instagram account), Valentina expressed that she was “excited and honored” to be part of the upcoming issue. “Being trans usually means facing closed doors to peoples’ hearts and minds,” the Brazilian model continued. “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. I recognize that I am one of the fortunate ones, and my intention is to honor that as best I can.
During an interview with People, Valentina expanded on her dream of appearing in SI Swimsuit. “To come from a space of fear and marginalization, to now being included in one of the most iconic magazines that truly embraces and celebrates diversity — it is life changing.”
MJ Day, Editor of the SI Swim Issue, explained that the magazine aims to highlight “inspiring, interesting and multi-dimensional” women, adding that Valentina had been on their radar for a while. “We are deeply moved that Valentina was willing to put her trust in us and we didn’t think twice about wanting to amplify her voice, her message and give her a platform to advocate from on behalf of her personal aspirations and the trans community,” Day continued in a statement provided to Teen Vogue. “That is what we can do as a brand, especially during these uncertain times — support her and celebrate her.”
Valentina is no stranger to making history and breaking through boundaries. In 2017, she became the first transgender model to appear on the cover of a Vogue edition, and she was also named as Victoria’s Secret’s first transgender model in summer 2019.
For Valentina, these milestones aren’t just about her career; rather, they’re about something much bigger. “As a community, each personal success is a step forward for all,” she told People, adding: “I honor the challenges of those who have paved the way for me directly or indirectly. They have made where I am today possible. I am committed to keep growing and push boundaries, so that I can in some way, pave the path for others. We are here, we always have been here and we always will be.”