'Playboy' Has Just Featured Its First-Ever Transgender Playmate

“It’s the most beautiful compliment I’ve ever received.”

(Image credit: Derek Kettela / Playboy)

French model Ines Rau has just made history as the first transgender Playmate in Playboy magazine's history. Rau is the magazine’s November Playmate, and has a photo spread and centerfold in the magazine, all photographed by Derek Kettela.

Ines Rau in Playboy

(Image credit: Derek Kettela / Playboy)

Rau posed for Playboy once before, in the May 2014 special edition of Playboy A-Z. “It’s how I celebrated my coming out, actually,” she told the magazine. “I took that chance, and then I signed with an agency.”

The 26-year-old has also starred in a Balmain ad campaign and posed for Vogue Italia, according to People. But she told Playboy being named a Playmate is a good way to speak her own truth. “When I was doing this shoot, I was thinking of all those hard days in my childhood,” she said in the magazine. “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.”

Though Rau is the first transgender Playmate, she isn’t the first transgender model to be featured in Playboy. The first was Tula, who appeared in the September 1991 issue. Caroline Cossey, who went by the name Tula as a model, said Playboy offered to photograph her after she was outed, which at the time threatened her career, and ran the photos despite advertiser pressure. “[Hugh] Hefner once said that life is too short to be living someone else’s dream and I think it spoke loudly of how respectful he was of the individuality of others,” she told the Huffington Post. “He certainly was with me.”

Cooper Hefner, son of the late Hugh Hefner and current chief creative officer of Playboy, tweeted Wednesday that the magazine, and society at large should “be fighting for a more open world, not one that promotes hatred and a lack of acceptance.”

Megan Friedman

Megan Friedman is the former managing editor of the Newsroom at Hearst. She's worked at NBC and Time, and is a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.