Not long after the death of its founder and figurehead, Hugh Heffner, Playboy has revealed its first ever transgender 'Playmate', French model Ines Rau.
Already the magazine has featured transgender models inside its pages and Heff selected Rau for the cover two months before his death.
While Playboy has featured trans models before, their first being Caroline 'Tula' Cossey in 1991, the move to feature a trans woman as a 'Playmate' on the cover has garnered a mixed bag of reactions.
Many took to social media to praise the publication and comment on Rau's beauty. Others however were horrified and sent transphobic comments to the model who's worked for the likes of Vogue and Balmain.
In her interview with the magazine, Rau explains that the slow shift to acceptance of gender identity and trans people in the modelling industry hasn't meant that she's been immune to toxic comments and trolls. However, she's risen above it and Heffner's decision to feature her on the cover goes some way to showing that we're living in more open-minded times.
"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.”
Speaking about the vitriolic reaction of some readers, Ines told the New York Times that transphobic comments about her shoot have only made her more determined to succeed.
“It makes me even more proud and happy to have done that, because we need to make a mentality change. We have to.”
Along with being an advocate for LGBTQ rights, Ines' passion is for the environment. She tells Playboy that if she continues her upward trajectory she plans to use her status as a platform to help save the environment.
“Nothing touches me more than fighting against global warming. I was made to fight for the planet—the forest, the animals, the air. If I get famous, that’s my first battle.”
You can check out Ines' full interview here.