BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Playboy, the 64-year-old men’s magazine, is featuring its first transgender Playmate in the November 2017 issue.
Ines Rau, a 26-year-old French model, appears as next month’s centerfold in the first issue of the magazine since the passing of founder Hugh Hefner.
Top executive at the magazine, and Hugh Hefner’s son, Cooper Hefner, says the publication made the move to help carry out its founding mission of embracing changing attitudes about sex.
The newest addition to the Playmates was selected because she is “lovely” and has “a remarkable personality,” Hefner told The New York Times. “We’re at a moment where gender roles are evolving,” he added.
So far in her career, Rau has appeared in American Vogue, Italian Vogue, and a Balmain campaign. She said that when she heard she would be a Playmate, she cried from happiness.
“It was a compliment like I’ve never had,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of beautiful compliments from gentlemen before, but this one really made me feel very special, beautiful and feminine. I was speechless.”
Rau was actually supposed to be featured on the cover of the magazine, but Hugh Hefner died two days before the issue went to press, and plans changed. A 1965 picture of the icon is featured on the front of the issue, instead.
Playboy’s social media pages shows a wide range of reactions to Rau’s centerfold.
In response, Rau told The Times: “My story is very heavy, and you’re going to have people who don’t understand and are being very mean, and seeing that, it makes even more sense to fight for awareness and respect.”
While the November issue features Rau as the magazine’s first transgender Playmate, she has been featured in the publication before, in a special May 2014 spread titled Evolution.
The Times also reports that transgender English model Caroline Cossey appeared in the magazine as a “Bond girl” in 1981 and was outed by a British tabloid shortly thereafter. She was invited to return to the magazine’s pages in 1991.