The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has been around since 1995, but in 23 years, the brand has never cast a trans woman of color (or a trans woman of any background). Now, model Leyna Bloom wants to change that. On Monday night, Leyna launched a Twitter campaign to become the first trans woman of color to be cast in the runway spectacle.
“Trying to be the 1st Trans model of color walk a #VictoriaSecret Fashion show. #transisbeautiful #LeynaBloom 💕,” she posted on Twitter, along with two photographs of herself rocking a bikini. As of Wednesday, Leyna’s tweet has garnered more than 14,000 retweets and almost 52,000 likes.
“It’s always been a dream for me, like so many others, not just trans — POC, all women, and some men even,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle in an interview. “This is a platform that glorifies femininity. I always felt in my most natural state I am heavenly. For my trans sisters, regardless of color, this will be a moment for us all.”
According to Yahoo Lifestyle, Leyna has been a professional model since 2014, having walked in shows for brands like Chromat and the Blonds. In 2017, she also broke barriers by becoming the first openly trans woman of color to model for Vogue India. But despite her consistent body of work, it’s still harder for her to get a job than white, cis models. “Work has been steady. There’s definitely been a gamble with other bigger brands to take on a trans model of color,” she told Yahoo Lifestyle. “I don’t know why it’s so hard for them to want to give us a shot. Then again, nothing happens overnight.”
If Leyna’s campaign is successful, however, and Victoria’s Secret does end up casting her, then the brand “will have the power to set the tone,” she says, “and that would be the biggest leap up to date. Can you imagine what that would do for our world?”
“We all have unique stories; we are just different, and we have every right to be,” she continued. “We just want to be represented, and maybe they will want to represent us too.”
— Leyna Bloom (@leynabloom) April 9, 2018