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.
— Playboy (@Playboy) October 1, 2021
“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
View this post on Instagram
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.”
Playboy Responds to Backlash
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.
— Playboy (@Playboy) October 4, 2021
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
View this post on Instagram
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.