Valentina Sampaio says that being kicked off the set for being a trans woman led her to realize her place in the modeling industry.
Sampaio, a Brazilian actress and model who was the first transgender woman to appear in North America Sports IllustratedThe number of swimsuits as well as on the French cover Vogue magazineI spoke to Amanda de Cadenet on the Victoria’s Secret podcast VS Voices About the “ignorance” she faced in the early days of her career. Sampaio, who is now a member of VS Collective alongside stars like Priyanka Chopra, Megan Rapinoe, Naomi Osaka, Hailey Bieber and Bella Hadid, explained to de Cadenet that it was initially “very challenging” to get a job as a model.
“Even when people want to work with me, they are afraid to hire a trans woman,” she explained. “I encountered a lot of ignorance and fear.”
She shared that she was fired from one job after the brand she was working for learned she was transgender. However, the experience eventually led to a major revelation of her niche in the industry.
“Being fired and humiliated that day was heartbreaking, but it was also what moved me to overcome my own personal heartache,” recalls Sampaio. “It made me see beyond myself. It allowed me to understand that I needed to shine light and be creative [opportunities]Not just for me, but for the humanization and benefit of all transgender people whenever possible. Soon after that experience, she was involved in a movie that was shot in Rio. That creative opportunity gave me the courage to open myself up to modeling and move to São Paulo. Within a few months of this movie, I was asked to model a cover [French Vogue]And my career took off.
Sampaio has previously used her show to talk about transgender rights. In an interview with Hollywood Live In October 2021, the rising fashion star said of the rise in anti-trans legislation, “Young trans people need love and support, but are instead being targeted by measures that will harm them. We must unite around ways to uplift young transgender people today and always , and not make life more difficult for them. I hope that young trans people will see women like me in the photo shoots and on the runways and recognize the beauty of being trans. I want them to watch our film and see the fleeting joy during this time when so many cruel and unnecessary laws are being passed” .