Holly Randall
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Playboy and Progress

I have always been very proud to work for Playboy. A brand that not only represents nudity in it’s classiest, most artistic sense, but a brand that has also been a vehicle for social change is something that I am 100% behind. 


I always wanted to shoot for Playboy. This is something that is uttered time and time again from the mouths of countless models and photographers alike. I was no different, except I have a personal— a familial connection— with the brand. My mother, Suze Randall, was one of the first female photographers to shoot for Playboy. Back in it’s heyday, in the late 70s, my mother (and father) attended all the parties at the Playboy mansion— they had dalliances with celebrities, frolicked in the grotto, and indulged in all of the devilish delights Hugh Hefner had to offer. 


Fast forward 30-odd years, and I finally got my break working for Playboy Plus. This was not as prestigious as shooting for the magazine of course (the most coveted of positions), but it was their membership website, and in the age of the internet, my work was getting a lot more eyes on it than the magazine was. So I was content in my place as one of the top producers for PlayboyPlus.com. 


Now a disclaimer: I am a liberal, through and through. I believe in equality for all: LGBT rights, immigration, free healthcare, gun control, the legalization of prostitution, you name it. This shouldn’t come as a shock for anyone— I am, after all, a California born-and-raised girl who works in the adult industry. It would be a shock if I was a conservative. 


This is why, when Playboy announced their first transgendered Playmate just a couple of weeks ago, I was absolutely thrilled. Here was Cooper Hefner, just weeks after his legendary father Hugh Hefner’s death, carrying on his legacy in the fight for equal rights for all. People cried that it was tasteless for him to use Hefner’s tribute issue to feature the trans model, Ines Rau, but I saw it as a very deliberate move, meant to send a message. To me that message is that Cooper plans to honor his father’s commitment to love and tolerance for all, and that there couldn’t be a better issue to feature Ines’ layout. In Hefner’s tribute issue, they are paying tribute to social progress.


I took to twitter to applaud Playboy’s move, to be met by derision, which I of course expected. One guy told me “This isn’t what Playboy is about.” I’m sorry, who are you to say what Playboy is about? Is it not Playboy’s position to say what they “are about”? For me, I see it as the noblest of moves, for what some may consider just a “nudie magazine” to use their influence to take a stand for something that means so much more than sexy naked women. And who better than a magazine that celebrates the beauty in the nude female figure to feature a beautiful trans woman? And who more brave than a brand that has been acknowledged as the “creme de la creme” of sexy naked women to take a chance on a political statement that they knew would infuriate many of their readers? And if Playboy is truly considered the authority on female beauty, what an incredible thing to consider a trans woman as part of that legacy. 


I don’t understand people who are so vehemently against the transgender community. How can one, with no experience as an individual who feels they have been born into the wrong gender— someone who feels so out of place, so unhappy in their body— say whether or not that person can make a change that brings them happiness? How does it harm the offended? How does one person’s incredibly personal, painful journey, affect your day-to-day life? Can we not understand that we cannot understand another’s path of destiny? We as humans get so wrapped up in our little minds, in our little bubble, that we lack the ability to comprehend that we are only one person, with one set of thoughts and feelings. All of these things that make us who we are: our childhood, our genetic makeup, our brain chemistry, our present and past experiences— that perfect combination of all of these things are the recipe for who we are today. But no one else has that exact combination of all of these aforementioned attributes, so how can we possibly believe that they will think like us, they will see things in the way that we do? 


Believe me, I fall victim to this trap as well, where I cannot comprehend how others can think a certain way. I look at the Neo-Nazis marching for racism, I see the government in Chechnya putting gays in prison camps, I see our president himself minimizing the tragedy the hurricanes brought upon our people of Puerto Rico, and I cannot comprehend how people can be filled with such self-righteous hatred, such a lack of compassion, such narcissism. But I say let these people believe what they want as long as our laws allow for equal rights for all. Every generation is more enlightened, and progress is pushing forward in the way of equality for all. And I am so proud to work for one of those vehicles for social progression— Playboy— who is a part of the movement for a greater social conscience.