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Model Leyna Bloom campaigning to become 1st trans model to walk in Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

May 7, 2018

CHICAGO — Since its inauguration in 1995, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has spotlighted some of the biggest names in the modeling industry. Each year, Victoria’s Secret selects dozens of models from across the world to walk in the show.

Though it was long criticized for a lack of diversity, the show was widely praised in 2017 when nearly half of its models were women of color. Despite this push for inclusivity, there is still a hole in Victoria’s Secret’s effort: The show has never included a transgender model.

But Chicago native Leyna Bloom is hoping to change that. On April 9, the model launched a Twitter campaign lobbying for a spot in the famed show.

"Trying to be the 1st trans model of color to walk a #VictoriaSecret Fashion show," she tweeted, along with two photos of herself in a bikini and the hashtag #transisbeautiful. The tweet has since gained more than 100,000 likes and been retweeted more than 30,000 times.

Bloom had previously tweeted criticism of Victoria’s Secret for limiting its diversity to race, and called for inclusion of trans models and models with different body types. "All these women of color in the VS fashion show that’s amazing right," she tweeted. "But they still have way more white girls. It’s like every time they added a woman of color they added another white girl. Next year they need to cast trans and curve models all colors not just Caucasians."

The model has previously danced with the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago and received a dance scholarship to the Chicago Academy for the Arts. She told Buzzfeed that she dropped out because the scholarship mandated she dance as a man. In 2017, she made history as the first transgender woman of color to appear in Vogue India.

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McClatchy Tribune Information Services