Transgender people made many strides in the fashion world in 2016, and 2017 is already off to an excellent start. Last year, trans models covered magazines like Marie Claire Spain and Men's Health Germany. Now French Vogue is welcoming its first trans cover model: Valentina Sampaio.
The Brazilian model is just 19 years old, and last year became the second trans model to cover ELLE Brazil. Sampaio is also a spokeswoman for L'Oreal, and she came out in as trans in one of the brand's videos, which released on International Women's Day 2016.
"This month we are proud to celebrate transgender beauty and how models like Valentina Sampaio, who is posing for her first ever Vogue cover, are changing the face of fashion and deconstructing prejudice," French Vogue wrote in one cover's Instagram caption.
French Vogue editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Alt discovered Sampaio in 2016, after her assistant showed her a story about the model. Vogue reported that in the March 2017 letter from the editor, Alt said "when Sampaio turned up at a studio in London to be shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, [Sampaio] looked exactly like her idea of a typical French Vogue beauty, any Vogue beauty, no different from Daria Werbowy or Anna Ewers."
In an interview with Vogue, Alt explained, "We are living in a world at the moment, what is happening right now, we are stepping back. Instead of being in a constant evolution, which is what should happen, human rights . . . they’re not going in a good direction. This cover is about the importance of those rights, and that we still need to make progress on an awful lot of stuff."
As happy as fans are to celebrate transgender models rocking "firsts," hopefully one day there will be so many trans models covering major magazines, landing bomb campaigns, and walking Fashion Weeks that we won't be able to number them anymore.