The Thought Leaders Issue: Leyna Bloom

The Thought Leaders Issue: Leyna Bloom

The Thought Leaders Issue: Leyna Bloom

The model and actress on authentic activism, Trans Lives Matter, and Black Lives Matter.

The model and actress on authentic activism, Trans Lives Matter, and Black Lives Matter.

Photography: Inez & Vinoodh

Styling: Aryeh Lappin

Text: Owen Myers

V127’s Thought Leaders Issue is available for pre-order now.

“Just being my authentic self is a form of activism. So no matter where I’m at, the fact that I’m in that space is a form of activism. Marginalized people who were hidden figures in our society are now front and center where they belong, and where they should have been a long time ago. I was born in a world I didn’t fit in, so now we’re creating one where we all do.

“It’s important for me and other trans women to vote, because for so many years we have not been given the opportunity to just live and breathe. Right now, there are so many people that are looking at us, speaking about us, and saying Black Trans Lives Matter or Trans Lives Matter—and I think it’s imperative that we are front and center of it all. We need people in positions of power to speak about that. Those old school guys who have been in the core of power forever, we need to knock them down. We need to put people like me in a position of power, and we need to dismantle the whole system. It starts with voting, and the next step is making sure that every person stands up and does their part.

“I’ve been in the ballroom scene since I was 14 years old. The house that I was in was called the House of Miyake-Mugler, and it was my first runway. That was a place where I could grow myself and develop a healthy competition between other people. Growing up in public spaces and public schools, I could not qualify for the sports teams, or be respected enough to be on the cheerleading squad. Ballroom was where I could escape the cis world, come into our world, and create an imagination of fantasy. And it also brought healthy competition.

“The [movement] name has turned into Black Lives Matter, but I grew up knowing about [anti-racist slogans like] ‘Black Power’ and ‘Power to the People.’ When I do speak about Black Lives Matter I get really emotional, because I’ve been protesting for my human rights since I moved to New York when I was 17. Now I’m heading into my early 30s, and to see so many people get that a-ha moment of, This is what’s right, this is what I stand for, and this is what I need to do. Seeing that is the greatest gift.”

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Credits: VLM STUDIO KIM POLLOCK (AGENT) JODOKUS DRIESSEN (LIGHTING DIRECTOR) MARC KROOP (STUDIO MANAGER) BRIAN ANDERSON (DIGITAL TECHNICIAN) VLM PRODUCTIONS TUCKER BIRBILIS (PRODUCER) EVA HARTE (PRODUCTION COORDINATOR) JOHN NADHAZI (PRODUCTION MANAGER) JOE HUME (PHOTO ASSISTANT) RETOUCHING STEREOHORSE

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