For its 2021 swimsuit issue, Sports Illustrated is making a bold statement about beauty.
“If there’s one thing that our cover models have in common, it’s that they don’t have one thing in common,” said the editor in the issue release.
“They look different, have different upbringings, have different passions and inspirations. But each is a reminder that beauty comes in many forms.”
Gracing three separate covers in the annual swimsuit issue are the likes of transgender model Leyna Bloom, rapper Megan Thee Stallion and tennis world No. 2 Naomi Osaka.
Not your average set of cover girls, the new issue sends a message of “Opening Eyes, Speaking Truths and Changing Minds”.
Breaking barriers as the magazine’s first transgender cover model and first transgender person of colour to appear in its pages, Bloom appears in a plunging white one-piece and strikes a sultry pose as her beachy hair blows in the wind.
Speaking to the accomplishment, MJ Day, Sports Illustrated‘s editor-in-chief, stated “the more diverse and inclusive a community, the stronger it becomes.”
In a second version of the swimsuit cover, Megan Thee Stallion is seen wearing a nude bikini with cutouts and a metallic bangle.
Her inclusion in the issue, according to Day, is owing to being a “magnetic powerhouse taking the world by storm”.
According to her biography on Sports Illustrated’s website, Megan is “a three-time Grammy award winner, philanthropist and ever-evolving cultural icon”.
Osaka, who recently made headlines for speaking out about mental health after withdrawing from the French Open and sitting out Wimbledon, appears on a third cover in a black asymmetrical one-piece.
Day noted her inclusion in the cover stating: “We celebrate Naomi for her passion, strength and power geared toward consistently breaking barriers when it comes to equality, social justice and mental health.”
The new swimsuit issue is expected to hit newsstands on July 22.