Playboy is changing the game with their November/December 2017 issue. This time around, the highly controversial and often trend-setting magazine will feature the magazine’s first transgender playmate, 26-year-old French model Ines Rau.
While Rau has appeared in the magazine in the past, she will get the full playmate treatment this time around, with a centerfold all to herself. The issue will also feature a special tribute to Hugh Hefner, who died only a few weeks ago.
“Being a woman is just being a woman,” Rau told Playboy in an interview accompanying her photoshoot. She also admitted that she did not identify as transgender for quite some time, but now that she does, she feels at peace. “It’s a salvation to speak the truth about yourself, whether it’s your gender, sexuality, whatever,” Rau continued. “The people who reject you aren’t worth it. It’s not about being loved by others; it’s about loving yourself.”
While she took a long time to understand her personal identity, she said that Ines Rau always knew that she would become famous.
“I always knew from within, when I was a little kid in my room in the ghetto, that a beautiful destiny was waiting for me,” Rau added. “I don’t know how to explain it. A little voice was telling me, ‘You’ll see. Patience.’”
“When I was doing this shoot, I was thinking of all those hard days in my childhood,” Rau continued. “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.”
Rau’s self-confidence is paying off. According to Dazed, she has also signed a deal and is set to appear in an upcoming feature film. Not to mention, Rau has walked in many designer fashion shows, including Balmain, and appeared in Vogue Italia.
Rau may be the first Playboy playmate. But, in 1981, Caroline “Tula” Cossey posed for Playboy, making her the first transgender model. She also had a role in the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only, but that happened before she came out publicly as transgender.