Pop star Kim Petras is one of four cover models for Sports Illustrated’s 2023 swimsuit edition, making her only the second out transgender woman to appear on the cover, the publication announced Monday. Model and actress Leyna Bloom was the first, having been on the cover in 2021.
“It’s definitely a scary time to be transgender in America, but there’s also so much more representation than there’s ever been, and there’s so many things on the bright side,” Petras told the magazine. “I do feel a pressure sometimes to represent the trans community with everything I do, because I feel very blessed that I am at this point where I have all these amazing opportunities that I’ve worked really hard for and feel so happy when I hear from trans people in general that they’re inspired by me.”
“While she’s proud that the trans community is inspired by her work, she uses her platform to encourage others to reach for the stars, regardless of gender or sexuality,” Sports Illustrated notes.
Petras also revealed Monday that her latest album, Feed the Beast, will be released June 23. It’s her first on a major label. “It's super exciting to have my Sports Illustrated cover and album announcement happening at the same time!” Petras told People. “[Photographer] Yu Tsai and the whole team at Sports Illustrated made me feel really comfortable and like I belonged there. I had the best time and, honestly, it was a huge confidence boost.”
This wasn’t Petras’s first historic achievement this year. In February, she and nonbinary singer Sam Smith won the Grammy for best pop duo or group performance, making her the first trans woman to win. “I just wanted to thank all the incredible transgender legends before me who kicked these doors open for me so I could be here tonight,” Petras said at the ceremony.
Petras, photographed in Los Angeles, is joined by three other cover stars — actress Megan Fox, model Brooks Nader, and TV host and business owner Martha Stewart, who at 81 is the oldest SI swimsuit cover model in history.
Bloom is returning this year as a model on the inside of the issue. In 2021, she became not only the first out trans woman to grace the cover but also the first trans woman of color to appear in the issue at all.
The swimsuit issue will be on newsstands Thursday.