In another win for gender equality, iconic men’s magazine Playboy have officially welcomed Ines Rau as their first ever transgender Playmate.
The 26-year-old French model first appeared in Playboy’s pages back in 2014 which was a milestone in itself with Rau being the first transgender model to grace the magazine’s pages. From there she was able to celebrate coming out alongside getting signed to a modelling agency. Since then Rau has been able to embark on other projects including writing a book, shooting a film and transitioning between New York and Paris.
“I lived a long time without saying I was transgender,” she told Playboy. “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.”
Rau says that she also isn’t afraid of the self exposure that comes with modelling for a publication like Playboy.
“Nudity shouldn’t be taboo. Nudity means a lot to me, since I went through a transition to get where I want to be,” she says. Whilst Playboy hasn’t exactly been the beacon of light for gender empowerment in the past, this bold move certainly puts the brand in a new light which reinforces the acceptance of cultural change.
There’s no doubt that this new direction may polarise the more traditional Playboy audience but nonetheless it gives people like Rau hope that being transgender doesn’t necessarily need to mean you can’t reach the pinnacle of your professional field.
“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,” she says.
“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.”