Kim Petras, a model who identifies as transgender, will be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated (SI) in 2018, the magazine said on Monday. The 30-year-old musician and model will be the second transgender to grace the cover. Leyna Bloom was the first to model for SI in 2021
Petras was thrilled to be announcing a record release (Feed the Beast) and simultaneously being on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
This year’s swimwear issue also highlighted Megan Fox, Martha Stewart, and Brooks Nader. Stewart, 81, was the oldest swimsuit model SI has ever published.
Sports Illustrated has been committed to diversity in its swimsuit editions, breaking down the barriers of what is traditionally considered beauty to aspire to, so much so that they have included biological men.
Petras is not without other controversy. This year, Petras’ Grammy performance alongside non-binary artist Sam Smith sparked controversy.
The Best Pop Duo/Group Performance award went to Smith and Petras for their hit “Unholy.” The couple received a lot of criticism, however, for their obviously demonic and sexualized performance.
Petras defended the contentious show, saying people have labeled what they stand for as religiously not cool. And, as a trans person, Petras already felt unwelcome in religion.
While describing Petras as a “beacon of inspiration for the LGBTQIA+ community,” SI Swimsuit Editor-in-Chief MJ Day stated in an interview that the shoot had no overarching theme this year, but there was a vision, a hope, a sentiment that women could exist in a world where there are no limitations, externally or internally.
A Twitter user asked why biological men were taking over roles traditionally held by biological women, noting the absence of feminists who have been fighting for this for decades.
Petras said, “I want people to think that Sports Illustrated is awesome and that I look great in this.”