This month, model Leyna Bloom is making history as the first out transgender model of color featured in Vogue India.
“This is an example to other brands that it works,” Bloom said. “It’s OK to be the first. It’s OK to share our stories and unite our unique beauty with everyone else. We are in a moment in life when all brands should take a moment to capitalize on missing links in our communities and in society. This brings everybody together, everyone should be celebrated.”
Bloom dazzled audiences at New York Fashion Week this year and appears in the magazine alongside a host of other talented models. Unfortunately, there was one huge misstep in the process: the magazine misidentified her as Geena Rocero, another transgender model.
“We may have the same fight but our journeys are very different and that should be recognized and respected,” Bloom said. “It’s like people mixing up Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman – these two women made history and should be recognized separately for what they did for an entire race of African people and for American history. Did I feel a lack of disrespect when seeing this? Absolutely. But right away after calling them out, they apologized and my agents are trying to see what can be done to fix this.”
At this point, Bloom just wants to focus on the positive. She made history. End of story.
“I chose to move forward and promote the amazing moment, as I am still honored to work with the Vogue family and want to continue working with them,” Bloom said. “No one thing is perfect, no matter how big or small. Everyone makes mistakes. The bigger picture is that opportunity is much bigger for me. That’s how I see it. Once a trans person of color can open a Vogue magazine and see another trans person equally beautiful as the other models and feel the magic… that’s what it’s all about.”
Beauty and grace in the face of a pretty devastating error by Vogue – but it’s a history-making achievement nonetheless. Congratulations, Leyna.