Playboy’s final issue of 2017 will make history by featuring its first transgender playmate.
Announced this week, model Ines Rau will be crowned with the honor others had in the past like Jennifer Jackson, Pamela Anderson and Marylin Monroe. The French model has seen plenty of wins in her blossoming career, such as a Balmain campaign, a spread in Vogue Italia and smiling with her eyes across the catwalk. Like the ones before her, the 26-year-old will pose nude as the November 2017 playmate.
“When I was doing this shoot, I was thinking of all those hard days in my childhood,” she said to the mag. “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.”
“I lived a long time without saying I was transgender,” said about her life journey. “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 a 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.”
The magazine’s cover will pay homage to founder Hugh Hefner, who passed away in September.
After mixed reactions flooded Playboy’s social pages, the magazine released side by side comparisons of disgruntled “Letters to the Editor” about the magazine’s first Black playmate. “In March 1965, we featured Jenny Jackson, our first black Playmate. Many fans revoked their subscription or returned the issue. Many more embraced Jenny Jackson, her beauty, and Playboy’s decision,” their caption read.
Unbeknownst to some, the magazine featured supermodel Caroline “Tula” Cossey, who was born a man but not openly transgender, on their 1990 cover. The Bond Girl was later outed, but became a hero to the trans community. She also posed for the mag again a few years later.
“Being outed propelled me into the realm of activism as I began a legal battle with the British government that culminated at the European Court of Human Rights. I wasn’t going to tolerate being openly and unfairly treated,” she told The Huff Post in 2016. “I can’t help the way I was born. I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my life feeling ashamed or apologizing for it and I didn’t think anyone else should either.”
The November/December 2017 issue will be released on newsstands Oct. 31.