Geena Rocero Makes “Playboy” History

She's the first Asian-Pacific Islander transgender Playmate in the magazine's decades-long history.

Transgender model Geena Rocero just made history for LGBTQ Asian-Pacific Islanders.

Rocero is the first openly transgender Asian-Pacific Islander model to pose for Playboy magazine, making her debut in the publication’s August 2019 issue.

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Introducing August 2019 Playmate @geenarocero

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“… [I’ve become], I guess, a transgender Tyra Banks, because I believe telling stories through the lens of the transgender experience speaks louder than statistics,” she told Playboy. “For so long we trans people have not been in charge of our own stories, and our representation has been predicated on the idea that we’re not the people we are. Obviously, this is who we are. This is our lived experience. It’s not up for debate.”

To celebrate the historic occasion, Rocero took to Instagram, sharing a heartfelt post with her fans about what her Playboy spread means to her as a trans woman.

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I’m Beyond PROUD to share the news and be the First Trans Asian Pacific Islander @Playboy Playmate! Growing up in a very conservative, Catholic patriarchy, I was made to feel ashamed about my relationship with my body. It took many years to unpack the shame ridden beliefs of my gender and sexuality. Moving to NYC to pursue my modeling career presented a much more difficult cultural context. At that time, there was not an ‘out’ trans identified fashion model so I made the decision to hide my personal journey in order to survive. After years of being a successful model, my depression and the paranoia of being ‘Outed’ grew larger every day. The shame that I felt about my transness limited the expression of my full self, my ideas and dreams. I decided to share my story for the first time at @Ted Conference, in order to free myself. This Playboy Playmate honor is another moment that I will never forget. 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! I remember seeing Caroline Cossey (Tula) on the cover of Playboy, I told myself that one day I want to be like her. 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. Woah!!!! Thank you to all the trans models who paved the way for me @carolinecossey , @cnngrldsgn , Lea Super Sireyna, @thelaurenfoster , @crimsonaamistad , @therealtraceyafrica and to my Playmate sis @supa_ines , bisous mon amour . Keep Dreaming, Keep Loving, Keep Hustling! Massive love to photographer @wiissa0 HMU @yomatisse , the whole Playboy Fam for the magical shoot in Costa Rica! @Playboy Magazine available in newsstands and digital download on June 18! Tag me when you get your copies ❤️

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“Growing up in a very conservative, Catholic patriarchy, I was made to feel ashamed about my relationship with my body,” Rocero wrote. “It took many years to unpack the shame ridden beliefs of my gender and sexuality.”

“Moving to NYC to pursue my modeling career presented a much more difficult cultural context,” she added. “At that time, there was not an ‘out’ trans identified fashion model so I made the decision to hide my personal journey in order to survive. After years of being a successful model, my depression and the paranoia of being ‘Outed’ grew larger every day. … I decided to share my story for the first time [in my 2014 TED Talk], in order to free myself. This Playboy Playmate honor is another moment that I will never forget. 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!”

Rocero also thanked other trans women in modeling who came before her, shouting out the likes of Caroline Cossey, Tracey Africa, and French model Ines Rau, who became Playboy magazine’s first ever transgender Playmate back in 2017.

To read Rocero’s full interview and profile in Playboy, head over to the magazine’s website.

Below, watch Rocero and other transgender fashion industry pioneers strut their stuff in Logo’s Made To Model: Trans Beauty In Fashion.
 

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.
@_sammanzella