A glass ceiling was breached this month when the French model Ines Rau became the first transgender woman to become a Playboy Playmate in the 64-year history of the magazine. The 26-year-old model has been featured in the first issue that went to print after the death of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner late September. The resident of Paris, France is the playmate for November 2017 issue, and she spoke about how much she values changing the perceptions related to beauty and acceptance as well as dealing with her own true identity. In case you are about to remark about Hefner rolling in his grave, it is not as if a transgender model has never been seen in the magazine, but, the difference is that this is the first time someone did as an official Playmate.
Ines Rau has earlier been seen nude in Playboy in March 2014. However, things have changed a great deal since then. This is what Rau said:
“I lived a long time without saying I was transgender. I dated a lot and almost forgot. I was scared of never finding a boyfriend and being seen as weird. Then I was like, ‘You know; you should just be who you are.’ It’s salvation to speak the truth about yourself, whether it’s your gender, sexuality, whatever. The people who reject you aren’t worth it. It’s not about being loved by others; it’s about loving yourself.”
This Playboy edition comes at a time when transgender models are gaining visibility in fashion and media domains. Ines Rau has adorned the pages of Vogue, Marie Claire, and Balmain.
Rau recalled Hugh Hefner being a vocal supporter of civil rights and how he personally selected her as the magazine’s first transgender Playmate before his death at 91 in September. Rau said he “told me he was very proud of me.” Ines Rau further spoke about a great deal of support and the little bit of hate that she has received. She said:
“The messages of encouragement I’ve received from people have been amazing, although I’m still told by some that I’m ugly and should never be allowed in Playboy… When I was doing this shoot, I was thinking of all those hard days in my childhood. And now everything happening gives me so much joy and happiness. I thought, Am I really going to be a Playmate – me? It’s the most beautiful compliment I’ve ever received. It’s like getting a giant bouquet of roses.”
Most of the people are happy to support it, but, some people are upset at the choice, and among them is the ex-porn star Jenna Jameson who expressed her disapproval on Twitter.
Ines Rau’s appearance as Playmate has led to debates on social media and one guy commented on Playboy’s Facebook page that “this was the last straw, sorry but I like my women real, not 500 surgeries later.” He was not the only one, but, Rau is not perturbed by it all and said, “There will always be trolls, but if I can help others to love themselves then it’s worth it.”
As it turns out, the supporters of Ines Rau are much more in numbers compared to the haters, and it seems that she is being seen as a messenger on a scale that is far wider than imagined even by herself.
The 8-page spread with a pullout centerfold has seven photographs of Ines Rau. She started her hormonal treatments when she was just 16 and soon after that, underwent a reassignment surgery. Rau said, “nudity is a celebration of the human being without all the excess. It’s not about sexuality but the beauty of the human body, whether male or female. You can’t lie.” Rau now plans to write a book about her story and to empower those who have felt different.