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French Vogue makes a statement

Mar 02, 2017 - The New York Times

Valentina Sampaio is one of those leggy, lush brunette models for which Brazil is famous. And it was her striking beauty and ''sparkling personality,'' the French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt said, that led her to feature the 20-year-old on the magazine's March cover.

That, and the fact that Ms. Sampaio is transgender. ''Trans people [are] the ultimate of a rejection of conformity,'' Ms. Alt wrote in her editor's letter -- the sort of ''icons that Vogue supports and chooses to celebrate.''

French Vogue is not the first fashion magazine to feature a transgender model on its cover. Hari Nef appeared on Frische, a twice yearly fashion and art magazine, in 2014; Andreja Pejić was on Marie Claire Spain a year ago; and Ms. Sampaio on Elle Brazil last October, to name a few. But the action was groundbreaking for the Vogue empire as well as the French fashion establishment, in part because of the cover line, ''Transgender beauty: How it's shaking up the world,'' below Ms. Sampaio'...