• Naomi Osaka posed for the address of the Sports activities Illustrated Swimsuit difficulty.
  • She is the 1st Black woman athlete to be on the cover of the concern.
  • Megan Thee Stallion and Leyna Bloom ended up also 2021 protect stars for the issue.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for much more tales.

Naomi Osaka just built historical past as the very first Black female athlete to pose for a Athletics Illustrated Swimsuit protect.

Osaka, who will be symbolizing Japan at the 2021 Olympics, was photographed by Yu Tsai for one of a few handles for the magazine’s swimsuit concern. She posed in Norma Kamali swimwear and earrings from Beads by Cowrie. 

“I wouldn’t have thought that I would have been the initially 1,” Osaka claimed of remaining the first Black feminine athlete on a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit include in a conversation with Tyra Banking companies. Financial institutions was the initial Black female to star on the deal with of the journal by itself. 

“I am happy that this barrier is becoming damaged,” Osaka instructed Banks.

Naomi Osaka stands in front of an ocean in a black, sheer swimsuit on the cover of

Naomi Osaka built record on the cover of the Athletics Illustrated Swimsuit difficulty for 2021, which goes on sale July 22.


Yu Tsai/Sports Illustrated



“I hope there are lots of, several additional individuals to come, and I’m absolutely sure there will be,” she included.

Osaka, 23, introduced her American citizenship in 2019 so she could contend for Japan in the 2021 Olympics.

The athlete withdrew from each the French Open up and Wimbledon in 2021, crafting in an essay for Time that she needed to prioritize her psychological wellbeing. She wrote that withdrawing gave her time to “recharge” for the Tokyo games.

“I could not be additional fired up to engage in in Tokyo,” she reported. “An Olympic Online games alone is unique, but to have the prospect to participate in in entrance of the Japanese lovers is a dream come true. I hope I can make them happy.”

MJ Working day, the editor-in-main of Sports activities Illustrated, mentioned in a push release that Osaka’s advocacy for psychological well being was a single of the causes the brand name required her on the address of the swimsuit problem.

Naomi Osaka lies on a beach in a tan swimsuit.

The Athletics Illustrated Swimsuit issue goes on sale July 22.


Yu Tsai/Athletics Illustrated



“We rejoice Naomi for her passion, toughness, and ability geared to regularly breaking barriers when it arrives to equality, social justice, and mental wellness,” Day explained.

“For me, I sense like I have generally been 1 to not want to use my voice,” Osaka mentioned in her discussion with Financial institutions. “But then I truly feel like you can find also a great deal of issues that have occurred, and more than the previous calendar year I just felt like, you know, there has to be someone that speaks up about uncomfortable things.”

Osaka wasn’t the only 2021 cover star to make history.

Megan Thee Stallion was the initially rapper to pose for a Sports Illustrated swimsuit address, and design and actress Leyna Bloom is the initially transgender product to star on the magazine’s address.

A side by side of Megan Thee Stallion and Leyna Bloom's Sports Illustrated covers.

Megan Thee Stallion and Leyna Bloom starred on the protect of Athletics Illustrated Swimsuit issue, which goes on sale July 22.


James Macari/Yu Tsai/Athletics Illustrated



Stallion wore a Manner Nova swimsuit and a Lizzie Fortunato bracelet, while Bloom sported swimwear from Gil Rodrigues and jewellery by SOKO. James Macari photographed Stallion, and Yu Tsai captured Bloom.

“If you will find a person thing that our address types have in prevalent, it’s that they do not have a single thing in common,” Day explained. “They seem diverse, have different upbringings, have distinctive passions and inspirations. But every single is a reminder that natural beauty arrives in lots of varieties.”

“Leyna Bloom tends to make historical past as the initially transgender address design in Sports activities Illustrated Swimsuit’s historical past, and the initial trans individual of colour to surface on our webpages, solidifying the fact that the extra numerous and inclusive a community, the stronger it becomes,” Working day went on to say.

“As for Megan Thee Stallion, she is a magnetic powerhouse using the world by storm. With each other these women signify 3 of the most strong voices of now,” she said.

Stallion described the shoot as “perfect,” “magical,” and “a person of the best experiences in my daily life” in an job interview with Folks.

The Athletics Illustrated Swimsuit problem will be available for order on July 22.