Interview – Valentina Sampaio

Interview – Valentina Sampaio

It is never easy to challenge yourself and follow your dreams. Brazil’s Valentina Sampaio did just that when she took the initiative to begin studying fashion at a young age. Enamored by the art of fashion, she would go onto study design, but soon would find her path taking a sharp turn in a different direction as she launched a modeling career.

A bold step for anyone, in the years to follow she would become Victoria’s Secret’s first openly transgender model back in August of 2019. A proud accomplishment, around a year later, she would then become the first openly transgender model in a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Two big steps for Sampaio’s ambitions to be who she is, but also pave the way for others to do the same, the future appears to be bright and wide open. A compelling person all around, Valentina Sampaio recently sat down to talk about her entrance into modeling, overcoming hurdles in the industry as a transgender woman, her acting aspirations, plus a whole lot more

Cryptic Rock You have been involved in modeling and the arts for some time now. First, tell us, what inspired you to pursue a career in modeling?

Valentina Sampaio – Honestly, at the beginning I didn’t even think about becoming a model. Everything started when I was at the fashion designer school. That is where people started to ask me why I did not model and then the first jobs started to appear.

Cryptic Rock That is very interesting to hear how it came about for you. You have found success as a model in the years since. To name a few accomplishments, you have modeled for the likes of Victoria Secrets and Sports Illustrated. One can imagine, like any field, modeling is a highly competitive career. That said, how would you describe your life as a model?

Valentina Sampaio – Modelling life is pretty intensive and stressful; you travel a lot all the time and all around the world. But I do not claim I’m very happy to do what I’m doing. Maybe the only regret is that I would like to visit my family more often and not just one time in a year.

Valentina Sampario Giorgio Armani AD

Valentina Sampaio Woman Spain Magazine Cover

Cryptic Rock Understood. It must be difficult to be away from home that much and not have a regular daily routine or see the ones you love. As mentioned, you were featured in 2020’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. This is a huge accomplishment for any model, so congratulations. What was that experience like for you, and has that feature opened new doors for you? 

Valentina Sampaio – I thank you! It has been an amazing experience. I modeled twice for them (in 2020 and 2021) and every time has been a blast! The locations are beautiful, the team is great and everybody tries to make you feel as comfortable as possible. To be showcased on SI gives you a lot of visibility and that helps you to get more doors opened for sure!

Cryptic Rock Most certainly, it is really something to be proud of. You have overcome a lot of obstacles as a model, and a result, have broken down walls for yourself as well as others. How would you describe the road you have traveled to get where you are? Furthermore, have you ever felt discouraged, and if so, what inspires you to keep preserving?

Valentina Sampaio – Well my road has been a real roller coaster with a lot of ups and downs, especially at the beginning… it has not been easy at all! I had to pass over a lot of discrimination just because I’m a transgender woman, and at the beginning, it made me feel really bad. But then I learned to deal with that and every time it happened, it just made me stronger than before, more focused to break those walls and I got it! But it is not finished, there is still so much to do for my community, not only that though, but also to make this world more and more inclusive.

Cryptic Rock Yes, and you continue to blaze a path for such goals. Beyond modeling you have also done some acting. Is acting something you would like to do more of in the future?

Valentina Sampaio – Yes for sure! I love to act! I had the opportunity to make a movie as a protagonist in Berenice Procura (2017); it was an independent Brazilian production. It was one of the best experiences of my life… to act is so intensive and amazing! Now modeling is my first focus, but for sure I would love to act again! 

Cryptic Rock That would be interesting to see; hopefully you get a chance to pursue some more acting in the future. If you were to act more, are there any particular genres you would be interested in working in?

Valentina Sampaio – Yes for sure! I love characters like Cat Woman, Maleficent; I just love super powered women!

Berenice Procura Movie Poster / EH! Filmes

Valentina Sampaio Undefinable

Cryptic Rock Ok, cool. So that is something to look out for in the future. So, we are living in a world where there is a lot of division everywhere we turn. That in mind, it seems many people pass judgement on others without even knowing who they are and what they are about. Something that is frustrating and sadly driving wedges between people. Do you sometimes have others pass pre-judgement and make assumptions about you?

Valentina Sampaio – Yes sure, the more exposure you get the more you are subject to judgements; especially from people that do not even know you personally.

I remember a couple of years ago during new year I made dreadlocks; a thing that I never did and I always wanted to do. So, I was on holiday and finally had some time for myself; and you know it was just an innocent hairstyle, nothing more! Well, when I posted the picture on my Instagram feed. I was so happy to finally show them, but then a lot of people from my country wrote that I could not do it because I’m white! People forget that in Brazil we are all mixed and in the same family you can have more than one race! In my family we have a roots’ mix from all over – Native, Black, Caucasian…
Cryptic Rock That is a perfect example of people making assumptions. So, as someone who clearly has a passion for the arts, what genres of music do you enjoy listening to?

Valentina Sampaio – As all Brazilians, I just love music! My favorites are Beyoncè, Anitta, Madonna, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Ludmilla, Seu Jorge, Rihanna… but there are many more! (Laughs)

Cryptic Rock That is a nice international mix of artists. Maybe in the future we can talk more about music! Last question. Cryptic Rock Magazine covers all forms of music and film; however, we do cover a good deal of Horror films. If you are a fan of Horror films, what are some of your favorites?

Valentina Sampaio – Well I’m not into Horror films that much, but I recently watched the series Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, and it’s really horrific; especially if you think about the fact that it is a true story.

For more on Valentina Sampaio: Facebook | Instagram 

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