Valentina Sampaio

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Valentina Sampaio
Born (1996-12-10) 10 December 1996 (age 26)
Occupation(s)Model, actress
Years active2016–present
Modeling information
Height1.77 m (5 ft 9+12 in)[1]
Hair colorBrown
Eye colorGreen
AgencyThe Lions (New York)
Women Management (Paris)
Monster Management (Milan)
Premier Model Management (London)
Uno Models (Barcelona)
Iconic Management (Berlin)
Modelwerk (Hamburg)
Photogenics LA (Los Angeles)
Chic Management (Sydney)[2]

Valentina Sampaio (born 10 December 1996) is a Brazilian model and actress. She became Victoria's Secret's first openly transgender model in August 2019,[3] and became the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue's first openly transgender model in 2020.[4]

Early life[edit]

Valentina Sampaio was born in a fishing village in Aquiraz, Ceará, which is in Northeastern Brazil. Her mother is a schoolteacher and her father is a fisherman.[5]

At eight years of age, her psychologist identified her as transgender, but she did not start calling herself Valentina until she was 12. She has said in many interviews that she was not bullied for her gender identification.[6] A 2017 New York Times profile of Sampaio mentioned that her parents "were always supportive and are very proud" of her, and her classmates were also very accepting because she said that "they already saw me as a little girl."[5]

Sampaio initially studied architecture in Fortaleza, but she dropped out at 16 to study fashion. It was there that a makeup artist discovered her and signed her with a São Paulo modeling agency.[6][7]

Modeling career[edit]

In 2014, a clothing company fired Sampaio from her first modeling job because of her transgender identification. Although she was supposed to be in one of their ad campaigns, the company – which she has not disclosed – told her that the brand was conservative and its clients would not be receptive to a transgender model.[8] Despite this hurdle at the very beginning of her career, she left her home state of Ceará for the first time to act in an independent film in Rio de Janeiro that later debuted at São Paulo Fashion Week.[8]

In November 2016, she walked her first runway at São Paulo Fashion Week. Soon after, L'Oréal made a short film about Sampaio, which they released on International Women's Day, and later the company made her one of the company's brand ambassadors.[6] She is a L'Oréal Paris spokeswoman along with several other Brazilian women including: Grazi Massafera, Taís Araújo, Juliana Paes, Isabeli Fontana, Emanuela de Paula, Agatha Moreira and Sophia Abrahão.[9]

In February 2017, Sampaio received international media attention after appearing on the cover of Vogue Paris and becoming the first transgender model to appear on the magazine's cover.[10] Later that year, she also appeared on the covers of Vogue Brasil and Vogue Germany. She is the first openly transgender woman to be featured on both magazines' covers as well.[11][12] Other magazine cover appearances of Sampaio's include Vanity Fair Italia, Elle Mexico, and L'Officiel Turkiye. She has also worked with brands such as Dior, H&M, Marc Jacobs,[13] Moschino, L'Oréal, and Philipp Plein.[14] She is now signed with New York modeling agency The Lions.[13]

On August 2, 2019, Sampaio indicated her association with Victoria's Secret PINK on her Instagram account,[15] making her the first openly transgender Victoria's Secret model.[16] Her agent confirmed that VS PINK had hired Sampaio for a catalog photo shoot to be released sometime in August 2019.[17][18]

In 2020, Sampaio became the first transgender model to appear in Sports Illustrated.[19] In late 2021, she became an Armani Beauty Ambassador.[20]

She is an advocate for transgender equality and awareness; she has fought against her home country's discrimination of transgender people.[21]

Valentina Sampaio is of African, Dutch and Native Brazilian descent.[22]



Year Title Character
2017 A Força do Querer ("Force of Will", English title Edge of Desire) Herself[23]


Year Title Character
2017 Berenice Procura Isabelle[24]


  1. ^ Gustavo Abreu (21 February 2017). "Valentina Sampaio: a modelo brasileira que têm orgulho de ser ícone o movimento transgênero". Redação Donna. Donna.
  2. ^ "Valentina Sampaio - Model". Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  3. ^ Woodyatt, Amy (5 August 2019). "Victoria's Secret hires Valentina Sampaio, its first openly transgender model". CNN Style. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  4. ^ Ali, Rasha. "Valentina Sampaio makes history as first openly transgender Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model". USA Today. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  5. ^ a b Thomas, Dana (1 March 2017). "French Vogue's March Cover Features a Transgender Model". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Hanbury, Mary. "Victoria's Secret has reportedly hired its first openly transgender model. Here's everything we know about her". Business Insider. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  7. ^ "Brazil Transgender Model Valentina Sampaio 'Fighting For Better World'". Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  8. ^ a b Kaiser, Anna Jean. "Meet The Transgender Model Who Broke Fashion's Highest Barrier". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Modelo transgênera Valentina Sampaio é a nova porta-voz da L'Oréal Paris". Huff Post. 7 July 2016. Archived from the original on 10 December 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Primeira transexual capa da Vogue Paris, brasileira diz: "Evoluí com o preconceito"". Época. 19 February 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Valentina Sampaio em dose dupla na Vogue Brasil de dezembro". Vogue. 1 December 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Ícone trans, modelo Valentina Sampaio é destaque na Vogue alemã". Ig. 27 July 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  13. ^ a b "For Valentina Sampaio, Victoria's Secret Is Only the Beginning". Vogue. 8 August 2019. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  14. ^ Sloan, Elizabeth (5 August 2019). "Valentina Sampaio: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  15. ^ "Valentina Sampaio on Instagram: "Backstage click @vspink 💕💕 #bastidores #new #vspink #campaign #representatividade #diversity #beauty #selfie #model #life #fashion #usa…"". Instagram. Archived from the original on 25 December 2021. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  16. ^ "Valentina Sampaio Becomes the First Transgender Model to Work with Victoria's Secret". People. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  17. ^ Hauser, Christine (5 August 2019). "Victoria's Secret Casts First Openly Transgender Woman as a Model". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  18. ^ Rivas, Mekita. "Victoria's Secret Hires Valentina Sampaio, Its First Transgender Model". Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  19. ^ Okwodu, Janelle (10 July 2020). "Valentina Sampaio Makes History as Sports Illustrated's First Trans Model". Vogue. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
  20. ^ "Valentina Sampaio, model and activist, reveals her top beauty secrets". Glamour UK. 31 December 2021. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  21. ^ Westhoff, Kiely. "Valentina Sampaio becomes Sports Illustrated's first trans model". CNN. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
  22. ^ Zarnosa, Laura. "Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio becomes first transgender Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model". Yahoo. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  23. ^ "Top trans Valentina Sampaio exalta participação em 'A Força do Querer': 'Livre'". Terra. 20 October 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  24. ^ "Valentina Sampaio fará sua estreia no cinema: "gravei todos os tipos de cena. Foi intenso!"". Vogue. 21 March 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2017.

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