The latest issue of Playboy features a transgender playmate, a first in the magazine’s 64-year history.
Ines Rau poses fully nude in the November/December 2017 issue, which is also the first to hit newsstands following the death of the magazine’s founder, Hugh Hefner.
The 26-year-old model has been shot for the magazine before, however, this time around marks her debut as the first official transgender playmate, which means she will appear in a full pictorial and the iconic centrefold.
Rau hails from Paris and is a successful fashion model, fronting campaigns for Balmain, appearing in Vogue Italia and commanding the catwalk at fashion weeks across the globe.
She appeared in Playboy’s May 2014 issue in a special A-Z edition, which championed a more progressive understanding of gender as non-binary.
The French beauty signed with a model agency shortly after.
Rau didn’t identify as transgender for a long time, she told Playboy, confessing that she was afraid of never finding a partner or being perceived as “weird.”
“Then I was like, you know, you should just be who you are,” she said.
“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.”
Making Playboy history might be just the beginning for Rau, who has just signed a book deal and been featured in a film.
She currently lives between Paris and New York, but has her sights set on moving to Los Angeles.
The feature has been met with mixed reviews online.
“When I open a Playboy, I expect to see women, not some guy who identifies as a woman, or some former male who has had the surgery to become female,” wrote one commenter on the magazine’s Facebook page.
“I just don’t want my kids confused,” added another.
“I know it’s by choice, but it’s also a parent’s responsibility to guide and teach their kids at an early age. But if they claim they were born like that… then, I don’t buy it!! Males have male parts and females have female parts! Sorry!”
Though Rau is the first official transgender playmate, she is not the first transgender model to appear in the magazine.
Caroline “Tula” Cossey posed for Playboy in 1981, shortly before she appeared in the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only.
One year later, it was revealed that Cossey was born a man; she posed for the magazine a second time in 1991.
In addition to Rau’s historic shoot, the November/December 2017 issue also features a special tribute to the life of Hugh Hefner, whose black and white portrait photograph is the magazine’s cover image.
Playboy produces six print issues each year, which are available on newsstands and online.