French model Ines Rau has made history as the first openly transgender model to become a Playboy playmate.
— Playboy (@Playboy) October 18, 2017
Photographed by Derek Kettela, Rau appears in a pictorial and centerfold in Playboy’s November/December issue, which pays tribute to its late founder, Hugh Hefner, who died last month.
Rau previously posed in Playboy’s May 2014 “A-Z” issue, starring in a spread called “Evolution,” which examined the acceptance of gender beyond the male-female binary. “It’s how I celebrated my coming out, actually,” she told the mag. Not long after, she signed with a modeling agency.
The Paris-born beauty has appeared in a Balmain campaign and Vogue Italia. She’s also appeared in the front row of Desigual, Zuhair Murad and AREA fashion shows.
Rau says it took her a while to find her confidence. “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.”
Beyond the fashion world, the 26-year-old told the men’s mag, “I just signed a book deal, and I just shot a film. I really want to be an action star!” She hopes to “call Los Angeles home soon.”
While Rau is the first transgender playmate, Playboy has previously featured a transgender model: Caroline “Tula” Cossey, who played a Bond girl in For Your Eyes Only, bared it all in 1981. A year later, British tabloid News of the World revealed Cossey was born a man. She posed again for Playboy in 1991.
“It’s the most beautiful compliment I’ve ever received,” Rau said of becoming a playmate. “It’s like getting a giant bouquet of roses.”
Playboy‘s November/December 2017 issue is available now for download at playboy.com and is set to hit newsstands nationwide on Oct. 31.