Playboy Has Its First Gay Male Cover Star: Bretman Rock

Rock is the first openly gay man to grace the cover of Playboy

Bretman Rock appears on the digital cover of Playboy's October 2021 issue, photographed by Brian Ziff
Bretman Rock making Playboy history.
Brian Ziff

In case you missed it, the times have changed at Playboy. Following a massive rebranding in 2019 that sought to bring what was widely considered an increasingly dated, controversial brand into a new, post-Hugh Hefner age of more progressive sexuality, the magazine has now welcomed its first-ever gay male cover star. Bretman Rock, a 23-year-old Filipino beauty influencer of YouTube stardom, is making history in the brand’s iconic bunny suit on the October 2021 cover.

“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,” Rock is quoted as saying in an Instagram post on Playboy’s page. The digital-only cover shoot — the brand dropped its anchor print magazine back in March 2020 after 66 years — features Rock in the famous Playboy bunny ears and collar worn by Bunnies, Playmates and celebrity cover models of yore, making the cover star one of a select few men to ever don bunny ears for the brand. (Ezra Miller and Paul Rudd, interestingly, are among Rock’s few male bunny-eared predecessors, while other famous men to have borrowed elements of the costume reportedly include Johnny Carson, Burt Reynolds and Flip Wilson.)

But while the influencer may be the first gay man to grace the cover of Playboy, he’s not the brand’s first male cover star in recent memory. That distinction goes to trap artist Bad Bunny, who appeared on the magazine’s first digital cover back in 2020. The artist’s shoot made him the first man to star solo on the cover since Hugh Hefner himself, who appeared posthumously on the November/December 2017 cover following his death in September of that year. Other men to appear on Playboy covers include Burt Reynolds, Donald Trump, Bruno Mars and Steve Martin, but they all shared the cover with one or more female co-cover stars.

Rock’s shoot, photographed by Brian Ziff, features the the star striking various poses in costumes inspired by the iconic Playboy Bunny suit, including a black satin corset and gloves in addition to the traditional ears and collar.

Disappointingly if unsurprisingly, not everyone is thrilled with Playboy’s new direction, by which I mean the usual crowd of close-minded homophobes have taken it upon themselves to express their disdain for Playboy’s inaugural gay male cover star. Rock, for his part, remains unfazed by the haters, addressing them directly in an Instagram caption accompanying several steamy photos from the shoot: “posting to piss off more straight men, if you’re pissed Bc I turn you on then- say that geez.”

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