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(CBS Local)– Actor and model Leyna Bloom has come a long way since her days in Chicago. The actor and model was the first Black and Asian trans woman to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue and also the first trans woman of color to lead a feature film at the Cannes Film Festival.
CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith caught up with Bloom to discuss her new movie “Port Authority,” her memories of growing up in the Windy City and the inspiration she gets from fellow Chicago native Dwyane Wade in how he raises his transgender daughter.
“The coolest part of shooting Port Authority was the moments before action,” said Bloom. “We’d go over the script and make sure everything is set up right and make sure the lighting is good. The magic right before the magic is where the magic is at. Those are the moments you cherish the most because those moments you don’t see in the film.”
“Port Authority” is available in select theaters on Friday, May 28 and available on digital and demand starting on June, 1. The film is about a man named Paul who gets kicked out of his Pennsylvania house and heads to New York where he meets a trans woman of color named Wye and from there a fascinating love story begins. Bloom is intentional about using her art to impact the next generation.
“When you hear the word trans and see a Black woman, you can get confused. I wanted to humanize that confusion if you are having any,” said Bloom. “I wanted to be approachable. That was my goal with bringing this character to life. I wanted her to feel like your sister or your best friend or someone you have a laugh with. I was born in the right time to receive something like this. When I got the call for the SI Swimsuit Edition, I knew my life was going to change and I knew that life was going to change for a lot of people like me. We can really have this moment.”
Bloom worked at places like Starbucks, McDonald’s and Gap while she was growing up in Chicago. She credits her father with making her the person she is today. Speaking of fathers, Bloom is really encouraged by the type of role model Chicago native Dwyane Wade has been with raising his transgender daughter.
“I see a lot of courage in seeing many Black men stand up for their children who are different, who are trans and who are queer like Magic Johnson did with their child” said Bloom. “I think it is so powerful to say this is my child and I love them and support them. I want them to have happiness in their life.”
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