02/14/2017 10:33 EST

Valentina Sampaio Is The First Transgender Model To Cover French Vogue


Bravo, French Vogue!

In a first for the magazine, the fashion bible has put transgender model Valentina Sampaio on the cover of the March 2017 issue, paving the way for major fashion publications to step it up (ahem, American Vogue). The cover reads "Transgender beauty: How they’re shaking up the world."

The decision to feature a transgender model on the cover is notable in that the magazine put Sampaio, a native of Brazil, on the second biggest issue of the year. According to Jezebel, only the September issue surpasses March in terms of importance and physical heftiness.

“This cover is about the importance of [human] rights, and that we still need to make progress on an awful lot of stuff,” French Vogue editor in chief Emmanuelle Alt told American Vogue.

According to American Vogue, Alt discovered the Brazilian beauty — who has also covered Elle Brasil and is a L'Oreal Paris ambassador — last year when Alt's assistant suggested she look at a story about her. After scrolling through Sampaio's Instagram page, Alt knew she wanted to feature her in the magazine.

Alt also knew she wanted to make a major impact on newsstands, which is where most European magazines make the majority of their sales, instead of through subscriptions.

"We are living in a world at the moment, what is happening right now, we are stepping back,” Alt told American Vogue. "Instead of being in a constant evolution, which is what should happen, human rights... they’re not going in a good direction. This cover is about the importance of those rights, and that we still need to make progress on an awful lot of stuff."

Shot by renowned photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Sampaio looks glamorous in a metallic silver-gold lamé dress, red lips and a smoky eye.

Of course, Sampaio is only one of dozens of other transgender models who are rising the high fashion ranks including Hari Nef, Lea T, Andreja Pejic and Geena Rocero. And recently, an Indian Fashion Week show had its first transgender model walk the catwalk.

Let's hope this cover encourages more fashion magazines to embrace transgender models more fully and put them on their covers, too.

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