Ines Rau, a French fashion model, has been named as Playboy Magazine’s first transgender playmate. According to the Independent, in its 64 years, Playboy has never had another transgender playmate. “Ines Rau poses fully nude in the November/December 2017 issue, which is also the first to hit newsstands following the death of the magazine’s founder, Hugh Hefner,” the site notes.
Rau is 26-years-old, and she had already found success in the modeling world as a trailblazer before being selected by Playboy for the honor, which comes immediately on the heels of the death of Playboy co-founder, Hugh Hefner. Rau has also spoken openly and emotionally about her transition and about being a transgender person, saying that she eventually decided it was important to speak out and be herself.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Playboy Quotes Rau as Saying, ‘Nudity Shouldn’t Be Taboo’
“Meet your November 2017 Playmate, @supa_ines,” Playboy announced on Instagram, along with the above photo of Rau. Rau also posted images from the Playboy shoot on her Instagram page, which is filled with other photos from her successful modeling career, especially in Europe but also in the United States. In an extensive interview with Playboy, Rau discussed the experience; the article details everything from her “seductive Parisian rasp” to her concerns about the environment.
The photo posted by Playboy to announce Rau’s choice as a playmate contained the following quote from Rau: “Nudity shouldn’t be taboo. Nudity means a lot to me, since I went through a transition to get where I want to be. Nudity is a celebration of the human being without all the excess. It’s not about sexuality but the beauty of the human body, whether male or female.” The issue is also noteworthy, reports People Magazine, because it is the first ever to feature only a man on the cover without a woman: Recently deceased Founder Hugh Hefner.
2. Rau Is a Fashion Model Who Has Appeared in Vogue Magazine
Even before the Playboy appearance, Rau was a successful fashion model, according to The Independent. She told Models.com that she was born in Paris, and her background is French-North African. Playboy wrote of Rau: “In the flesh, Ines has a presence you can feel before you lay eyes on her…She’s more petite than her sculpted bone structure and dagger-sharp cheekbones might suggest, but she has the poise of one who has seen the worst and the best life has to offer.”
She was born in France. “Rau hails from Paris and is a successful fashion model, fronting campaigns for Balmain, appearing in Vogue Italia and commanding the catwalk at fashion weeks across the globe,” Models.com reports. Rau told Playboy, “I lived a long time without saying I was transgender. 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.'” She added to Playboy, “When I was doing this shoot, I was thinking of all those hard days in my childhood.”
3. Rau Called the Playboy Spread a ‘Beautiful Compliment’ & Described Transitioning Into a Woman as a ‘Fabulous Level of Happiness’
In the Playboy article accompanying the photos, Rau says, according to People Magazine, that the shoot has helped her put the harder times behind her. “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.”
In the interview with Models.com, she said of being transgender, “Having a sex change is not the answer to insecurities or other issues, a lot of transgender do not understand that it has to be done with reflection: because of a real deep desire to be a woman from a younger age. It’s fabulous the level of happiness- it’s just absolutely impossible to describe. I’m the happiest girl in the world, just being what I wanted to be.” She told Playboy that she cares about environmental causes, adding, “I will always fight for LGBTQ rights and women’s rights, but above everything else, my cause is 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.”
4. Rau Is a ‘Self Described Hippie, Tomboy & Party Girl’ & Says It Took a Long Time to Call Herself Transgender
According to People Magazine, Rau has described herself as a hippie, tomboy, and party girl. “I lived a long time without saying I was transgender,” the magazine quoted Rau as saying. According to Playboy, “Her instincts were right. At 18, she started dancing for mega DJs in Ibiza. (David Guetta remains a close friend.) Now in her mid-20s, Ines is setting her sights past the fashion world,” adding that she is a martial arts enthusiast.
“I just signed a book deal, and I just shot a film. I really want to be an action star!” she told Playboy, which wrote, “Considering that she’s a martial arts enthusiast (‘boxing, kickboxing, Thai boxing, full contact, all of it’), it’s easy to picture her as a cold-blooded assassin or Lycra-clad superhero.” The magazine quoted Rau as adding, “It’s telling stories. It goes beyond beauty. You can be ugly in a movie. You just have to give emotion.”
5. Rau Made Previous Headlines With an Explicit Photo Shoot With Model Tyson Beckford
It’s not the first time that nude photos of Ines Rau have made headlines. According to Jezebel, in a photo shoot, model Tyson Beckford appeared “completely naked in a new spread in OOB, a French luxury magazine. Posing with him is Ines Rau, a Parisian model who recently came out as transgender and who seems to be on the verge of a major career breakthrough.”
Jezebel added of the photos, “Rau’s Facebook and Instagram accounts were both temporarily shut down after she tried to post photos from the spread.” That was in 2013. Ray also appeared in Playboy before, just not as a playmate. She appeared in “the Art Issue of American Playboy, ‘representing the letter E as Evolution,'” Jezebel noted.