Valentina Sampaio possesses undeniably mesmerizing beauty. The 22-year-old Brazilian model’s striking cheekbones, fluffy brows, and sandy-colored hair instantly command your attention, whether you’re watching her glide down the runway or gazing at her on a magazine cover.
Sampaio has risen to global notoriety over the last five years, beginning her career at São Paulo Fashion Week in 2016. Since then, she’s graced the covers of international publications like Vogue Paris, Vanity Fair Italia, and ELLE Mexico. But, Sampaio’s impact extends far beyond the pages of magazines. The transgender model has been an outspoken advocate for diversity and inclusivity, using her platform to call for change across fashion, beauty, and beyond.
She continues to make awe-inspiring moves, recently becoming the new face of Armani beauty. The luxury brand is known for celebrating natural beauty, so it’s easy to see why Sampaio signed on to the team. As the face of Armani beauty, we can expect to see her front and center in all of the brand’s 2022 beauty campaigns. Ahead, Sampaio opens up about working with Armani beauty, growing up in Brazil, and her plans for the future.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a fashion designer. I loved the process of creating clothes. But, modeling was something that happened organically as a result of studying fashion design at a university. Once I tried modeling, I fell in love with it.
That love for modeling supported me through the painful challenges I faced when people were scared to work with me because I was trans. I’m so happy that despite some humiliating and traumatizing experiences, I’ve never given up.
How did growing up in Brazil influence your perspective on beauty?
Brazil is a colorful and energetic country. It is also very diverse. I grew up in northeast Brazil in a multiracial family with seven siblings. Our parents have African, European, and Indigenous blood, resulting in a rainbow of diversity amongst my siblings and me.
As a family, we are constantly on the beach and in the sun. Our culture embraces healthy, glowing skin, as well as natural, healthy hair. This love of diverse, natural beauty has taught me the importance of not masking what we have and embracing what we have been given.
You’re now working with Armani beauty. What made you want to align yourself with the brand?
Armani is a brand I have always admired as a global icon of timeless elegance and beauty. Being a face for Armani beauty is a major milestone in my life, both personally and as a member of the global trans community.
What are some of the beauty products you use daily?
First, I shower and cleanse my skin. I like to invest time into carefully hydrating my face and body. For my face, I love Armani Beauty’s Crema Nera collection. It leaves my skin feeling hydrated and glowing.
You’ve worked with so many beauty pros throughout your career. Is there a tip or trick a makeup artist has taught you that you swear by?
I’ve learned I can use lipstick as a blush. I also love to use lip gloss on my eyes.
ARMANI BEAUTY / GREG WILLIAMS / DESIGN BY TIANA CRISPINO
What does beauty mean to you? When do you feel most beautiful?
Beauty is subjective. But, I believe beauty is the transmission of your essence. I feel most beautiful when I’m grounded and connected to myself.
What does self-care look like for you?
When I am not working, I like to connect with my family and be in nature. There’s a sense of purity I feel in those innocent moments when I’m surrounded by genuine love.
You exude confident, vibrant energy. For people who may be struggling with their confidence, do you have any advice for them?
Be the first to accept and respect yourself. It’s also important to stay grounded, and I know that’s hard. But you have to stay strong because we are all unique and special.
You’ve done so much in your career already, from gracing the cover of Vogue Paris to working with Victoria’s Secret. What are some things you still hope to accomplish one day?
I want to keep being creative and growing as a person. I would love to act again in a film that I feel deeply connected to. I would also like to co-create a collection with a brand that contributes to trans-related charities. And eventually, one day, I would like to create an institution in Brazil that supports the trans community with health benefits, services, education, and dignified work opportunities.
When you think about the legacy you want to leave in the world, what does that look like?
I want to plant seeds to help achieve greater acceptance of diversity. I also want to help achieve a greater sense of equality and connection regardless of a person’s physical being.