Geena Rocero has been tapped as the latest Playboy Playmate, replete with a centerfold in the legendary Playboy Magazine. The news makes Rocero the first trans Asian Pacific Islander to be named as a Playmate for the publication.
“To now be a part of the ICONIC Playboy Family is a definite pinch me moment, as I think of that little Trans Filipina who grew up in the little alleys of Manila,” Rocero wrote in an Instagram post. She went on to thank others like Lauren Foster, Tracey Africa, Crimsona Kaiser, trans models who preceded her in the industry.
“I feel that I’m making it possible for someone to reach for their biggest dreams just like the people who came before me,” she told Out in a statement. “I also hope that for anyone who’s been deemed ‘other’ to know what makes you different, is your power, especially the unapologetic expression of your sexuality, gender, and the value of your unique perspective.”
Rocero’s issue is the magazine’s Gender and Sexuality issue out June 18. On the cover, it features Marisa Papen, Arlondria Lenyea, Sophie O’Neil, and Linnea Snyderman. Inside the issue features the voices of Dusty Ray Bottoms, Darnell Moore, Tarana Burke, and none other than Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Rocero follows other trans models like Ines Rau, who was the first openly trans Playmate in October 2017, and Caroline “Tula” Cossey who was the first openly trans model to appear in America’s Playboy in 1991. When Rau covered the issue, it stirred controversy as it was the first issue to be produced after the death of the magazine’s founder Hugh Hefner. Little did those critics know, Hefner had personally approved Rau to not only be a Playmate but to appear on the cover of the magazine before his death. She was only replaced on the cover because Hefner died, and editors decided to do a commemorative cover in his honor instead.
“In this constant political attack on trans lives, I am more inspired to unapologetically proclaim how proud I am of being a trans woman of color and an immigrant,” Rocero wrote to Out.
Rocero built a career, first in beauty pageants and then in fashion, before coming out via a TED Talk in March 2014, which she said she did to free herself according to her Instagram caption. “This Playboy Playmate honor is another moment that I will never forget,” she wrote. “I will always know that expressing my unapologetic love for my self, my body, my vulnerability, my journey, my dreams, and my hustle is my ultimate power!”