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Transgender Supermodel Valentina Sampaio, The Lions, And LUKSO Make NFT History With Transgender-Themed Film And Auction Of CGI Dress To Benefit LGBTQ Non-Profits

Valentina Sampaio Walks MET Gala Red Carpet and Debuts Short Film with All Transgender Cast

NEW YORK, Sept. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Lions Management today announced a partnership with blockchain company, LUKSO, on a short film and charity NFT drop of digital fashion created with transgender supermodel and activist, Valentina Sampaio. The NFT auction is open through September 17 at https://lambadadyedredwhiteblue.com/. The current bid is $300,000. Profits from the sale will benefit LGBTQ non-profits The Ali Forney Center, GLAAD, and Pride Live.

Transgender Supermodel Valentina Sampaio, The Lions, and LUKSO Make NFT History

The opening of the NFT auction was timed with Sampaio walking Monday's red carpet at The MET Gala in celebration of American Fashion where the dress code was "American Independence." Yet in a parallel virtual reality, she invites everyone to contemplate a powerful question that lies beneath this year's theme, "What does it mean to be an American if you are trans?"

She expressed the question through a short film with co-creators The Lions and LUKSO, written and directed by Branislav Jankic and Jesse Ball, and produced by Goran Macura, which combines elements of traditional video with CGI and 3D design. The film can be viewed on YouTube and Sampaio also posted a teaser of the film on her Instagram.

The short film features Sampaio and a cast of trans actors and trans youth. It opens with a celebration of trans joy in the style of iconic 80's music video, 'Lambada.' The celebration is unexpectedly interrupted and closes with Sampaio reciting names of trans lives lost to anti-trans hate violence in the United States this year. The dress that forms on her body during the film symbolizes and memorializes these lives. The CGI version of the dress, designed by digital artist NERI [Gia Djahaia], debuted as a V Magazine digital cover and is currently on auction as a NFT exclusively at www.lambadadyedredwhiteblue.com.  

The film's debut coincided with Sampaio's appearance at the MET Gala on Monday. Photos of Sampaio on the red carpet wearing an Iris Van Herpen gown are available on her Instagram.

"I hope that young trans women can see women like us at The MET Gala and other cultural epicenters and come to know that trans women do belong," said Valentina Sampaio. "Our existence and visibility matter. Branislav Jankic and Jesse Ball's new film begins with the beautiful diversity and joy of the transgender community and quickly moves to spotlight the urgent epidemic of violence facing transgender people, especially transgender women of color. Together with partners at The Lions and LUKSO, we hope our film and NERI's striking NFT raise visibility for the trans community and create an urgent call to action for the world to proudly and strongly stand with trans people."

Sampaio is a Brazilian model and LGBTQ advocate. Her modeling career solidified when she appeared on the cover of French Vogue, becoming the first trans model to ever appear on any Vogue cover worldwide. Since then, she has continued to break barriers becoming the first trans woman to appear in Sports Illustrated, as well as becoming Victoria's Secret's first trans ambassador.

Profits from the sale of the NFT will be donated to the following non-profit LGBTQ organizations: 

  • Pride Live:Pride Live is dedicated to accelerating awareness and support for the LGBTQ+ community via social advocacy and community engagement to advance the fight for full equality.
  • GLAAD:GLAAD is the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization. GLAAD, which includes a dedicated program to trans representation in media, creates public campaigns and works with news, TV, film, video games, Spanish language media outlets, and social media to tell stories and consult on LGBTQ representation which accelerates acceptance for LGBTQ people.
  • The Ali Forney Center :The Ali Forney Center's mission is to protect LGBTQ+ youths from the harms of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to live independently. The Ali Forney Center (AFC) was founded in 2002 in memory of Ali Forney, a gender-nonconforming youth who was tragically murdered in 1997.

Sampaio and co-creators of project, including The Lions and LUKSO, aim to raise awareness of the epidemic of violence facing transgender people, especially transgender women of color. According to the Human Rights Campaign, "2021 will likely be the deadliest recorded year for trans people in America.  Previously, 2020 was the deadliest recorded year, with 44 known victims of fatal violence."

Additional quotes from creators and partners:

LUKSO - Marjorie Hernandez De Vogelsteller:  "LAMBADA DYED RED WHITE BLUE represents a cultural moment and a convergence of creative technologies, blockchain, the creative power of the authors, and the true spirit of our time.  A truly collaborative effort, in which some of the best talents of our time have come together to share a powerful and meaningful message of what it means to be still today one of us, who don't fall inside the conservative conforms of society."

The Lions Management - Christiana Tien Tran:  "Never before has there been a greater opportunity to bridge the gap between our physical reality and the metaverse with the merging of creative industries:  fashion, art and technology for the greater good.  All of these industries can cause harm without intentionality, and therefore along with Valentina and the LGBTQ+ community, we unite them to save lives and evolve humanity towards a new reality where all people can thrive, powered by love. Together we are limitless."

Writer and Director Branislav Jankic & Jesse Ball:  LAMBADA RED WHITE BLUE arrives at a crucial time. When our society turns against its own—who is it that is injured? There is no puzzle. We must see trans Americans as they are, a gentle community extending its hands, lifting its proud head. These beautiful faces—full of all the possibility nascent in the human vocabulary of life and change—point the way.

Zachary Cohen, Director of Development at The Ali Forney Center: "Transgender young people face the horrors of homelessness at staggering rates; the Ali Forney Center is so grateful to be one of the beneficiaries for this important and powerful video. Thank you to Valentina for expressing the beauty and power of trans people and for providing the critical funds to house, support and celebrate these incredible and deserving young people."

Rich Ferraro, Chief Communications Officer, GLAAD: "With this film and project, Valentina and her co-creators will inspire a call to action across the fashion and arts communities to elevate trans voices and help combat the current epidemic of anti-trans violence. Valentina continues to showcase her deep commitment to reach the trans community with a simple message of solidarity and to reach global audiences with trans pride and beauty."   

Diana Rodriguez, Founder of Pride Live: "We are honored to partner with The Lions on this ground-breaking project led by Valentina and LUKSO. To be able to bring such global awareness to the escalating dangers faced by the trans community is representative of who Valentina is, and the impact she wants to have in this world. Her leadership to encourage engagement in new and developing ways and platforms, like LUKSO expands the breath and impact of this vitally important message."

About The Lions: The Lions is a Talent Management, Branding, PR and Creative Services agency that elevates brands beyond the expected.  We bring together relevant talent, creative vision and clear strategy to help our clients tell stories that inspire, celebrate and shift cultures.

About LUKSO: LUKSO the Blockchain for a new digital lifestyle is created by former Ethereum developer, Fabian Vogelsteller.  Together with co-founder and brand architect, Marjorie Hernandez, they are building a platform specifically curated for the lifestyle industry, providing decentralized innovation and trust infrastructure for fashion brands, startups and consumers.

Contact Information: Jennifer Cooper, PR jennifer@thelionsmanagement.com  

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SOURCE The Lions Management