Social media star and beauty influencer, Bretman Rock, has made history as  the first Out gay man to appear on the cover of Playboy. Rock, who graces  the cover of the digital October issue, appears in full Playboy bunny regalia;  high heels, pantyhose, corset, cuffs, bunny ears, bow tie, and a white  cottontail. 

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“For Playboy to have a male on the cover is a huge deal for the LGBT  community, for my brown people community and it’s all so surreal. A total ‘is  this even f***ing happening right now?’ type of vibe. And I’m so pretty,”  tweeted Rock. 

“If a gay man feels sexy in a bunny costume, an iconic symbol of sexiness,  why shouldn’t he be able to wear it proudly,” asked Playboy in a tweet. 

 A Breakthrough for LGBTQ+ Visibility 

Anthony Allen Ramos, GLAAD’s Head of Talent, in a statement said,  “Playboy’s inclusion of Bretman Rock on its cover is a powerful step forward  in the ongoing movement towards greater diversity and inclusion in fashion  and modeling. As the first out gay man to cover the magazine, especially  during Filipino American History Month, Bretman Rock is continuing to defy  gender norms and use his massive social platform to not only break down  barriers for LGBTQ inclusion in the industry, but also inspire so many other  LGBTQ Filipinos who have been underrepresented in fashion, modeling, and  across media.” 

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Rock is only the third man to appear alone on the cover, following  founder Hugh Hefner, who made the cover following his death, and musician  Bad Bunny, who appeared on the very first digital cover of the iconic  magazine in 2020. The magazine switched to an all-digital format in 2020 after 66 years of publication. 

 Playboy Responds to Backlash 

In response to the considerable backlash they received over Rock’s cover,  Playboy tweeted, “Last week, we released our first-ever cover with an openly  gay model @bretmanrock. Since posting, we’ve received a lot of great  comments, but far too many offensive ones as well.” 

“These are the same kind of comments Playboy received when we put Darine  Stern, an African American woman, on the cover in 1971, when we featured transgender model Tula Cossey in 1991 and when we fought for abortion  rights before Roe v. Wade and cannabis law reform in the 1970s.” 

”Standing for freedom and equality is in the DNA of this brand. Today,  Playboy is much more than a magazine. Our digital covers are creative  snapshots that drive and reflect the current dialogue around pleasure,  sexuality, equality and culture.” 

“Serving as a platform for representation and freedom of expression is and  will always be what Playboy stands for,” tweeted the magazine. 

 The Culmination of a Dream 

Rock, 23, who was born in the Phillipines and now lives in Hawaii, rose to  fame from makeup tutorials posted to YouTube and Vine. The beauty vlogger  now boasts almost nine million followers on YouTube and close to 18 million  followers on Instagram.

He parlayed his social media fame into a six-episode  reality show, MTV Following: Bretman Rock, and he was named the  “Breakthrough Social Star” at the 2021 MTV Movie and TV Awards. He also has a collaboration with Wet n Wild beauty on a line of makeup products. 

“When I say I came from nothing, I really came from nothing,” Rock said to  People magazine in an interview. “All of this was literally just a dream.” 

“Growing up as an immigrant kid, we are told that we have to work twice as  hard as everybody else. And we’re told to keep our heads down,” he added.  “Like, when you enter someone’s house, you take your shoes off, you leave your pride at the door. And you always want to work with your head down,”  said Rock.

 

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