Shortly after Hugh Hefner passes away, the infamous Playboy brand reached even higher heights when it announced Ines Rau as its first openly transgender Playmate in its 64-year history.
“The people who reject you aren’t worth it. It’s not about being loved by others; it’s about loving yourself.” – Ines Rau to Playboy
Ines Rau, a 26-year-old French model, is not new to the adult magazine as she was previously featured in the May 2014 Playboy issue, but is set to embrace the iconic centerfold spot in the upcoming November/December issue - an issue that will also include a special 100-page tribute to the organization’s late founder. This shoot only adds longevity to the model’s already existing resume as she has appeared in several campaigns, including Vogue Italia and American Vogue, in addition to ripping the runway for various top designers like Balmain; but, her newest position fits right into the publication’s tagline that it features on its Instagram: “Pushing and removing buttons since 1953.”
A few of the Playboy’s fans are a bit upset and feel as if the franchise decided to embark on this new era only after the passing of Hefner. Yet, in 1981, Playboy ran a feature on the “For Your Eyes Only” James Bond movie that included a popular model by the name of Caroline “Tula” Cossey. Both unfairly and unfortunately, in 1982, a British tabloid exposed Cossey with a headline that read, “James Bond Girl was a Boy.” At the time of her 1981 Playboy shoot, the status of Cossey’s gender-at-birth wasn’t public knowledge due to the time (societal ideals just weren’t feeling that – much more then than now with the ridiculous judgmental ideals of current times) and the progression of Cossey’s Hollywood resume came to an abrupt halt and suffered tremendously from being outed in such fashion; however, Hefner knowingly brought her back to make a statement when he featured her in the September 1991 issue and titled it, “The Transformation of Tula” which broadcasted Cossey as an out transgender woman and described her as “a beautiful woman who was born a boy.” Also, to not be forgotten, Hefner published a story in 1995 that flipped the roles of modern–day society in which heterosexuals were persecuted in a homosexual world and called the fight for gay marriage, “a fight for all out of rights.” It definitely appears that the slander projected by many are without facts and very misguided, but that did not stop the publication from addressing the ongoing threats by highlighting the parallel reaction to when they featured their first African American Playmate, Jenny Jackson, in 1965, to specifically let it be known that the franchise will continue to be unfazed by their negative comments.
Ultimately, it is important that we do not let Hefner and Playboy’s legacy supportive and progressive history dim the light of Ines Rau’s position as the first openly transgender person to be named a Playboy playmate and own the covenant centerfold position. What’s even more remarkable, Hugh’s son, Cooper, Playboy’s Chief Creative Officer, told The New York Times that Rau was selected to be the new playmate when Hefner was still alive and was even going to stand as the cover model until Hugh passed away two days before the issue went to print and was given the cover as a tribute, instead. Cooper also willingly admitted that the decision to select Rau was not for the satisfaction of those who purchase the brand’s product or even support them, but because it was the right thing to do regardless of how people would feel about it. The November/December 2017 issue is available in stores today and is also available for download by clicking here.
As FreedomTwoLove extends our sincerest appreciation to the Playboy brand for their continued progressive and inclusive mindset, we especially like to extend a huge and heartfelt congratulations to Ines Rau. In the meantime, check out a few of the beautiful pictures from the shoot below: