In recent years, Philippines-born influencer Bretman Rock skyrocketed to becoming one of the most popular people on social media and now has made history as the first gay male cover star of Playboy Magazine.
Since first gaining popularity through his comedy and makeup tutorials on the now defunct-Vine and YouTube, Rock has launched a makeup line, starred in his own MTV show and gained more than 17.7 million followers on Instagram.
On Oct. 1, Rock shared photos on Twitter and Instagram from his Playboy cover photo shoot, donning the iconic Playboy bunny ears, bow tie, tights and lingerie, writing, “I’m a @playboy bunny DUHHHHHH.” His Instagram post has since gained more than 2 million likes.
— BretmanRock’s Year (@bretmanrock) October 1, 2021
Playboy, which was founded in 1953 by the late Hugh Hefner, has been known for its photo shoots of nude women. The publication stopped printing magazines in March 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and Playboy has fully transitioned to a digital model.
Only a few men, like Bad Bunny and Bruno Mars, have been featured on the magazine’s cover, but 23-year-old Rock is the first gay man to do so solo. In a quote shared by Playboy, Rock recognized the magnitude of his shoot.
“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 (expletive) happening right now?’ type of vibe. And I’m so pretty,” he said in a tweet shared by Playboy.
Anthony Allen Ramos, head of talent at LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD, said in a statement to Yahoo that Rock’s appearance as not only a gay man but also as a Filipino man is a huge step toward promoting diversity and inclusion in the model industry.
“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,” Ramos said.
Some people on social media have been unhappy with Rock’s appearance on the Playboy cover, but others have praised and supported the star.
If there is something about him….. He will always give what he's supposed to gave😍❤️— 𝕸𝖔𝖊𝖐𝖊𝖙𝖘𝖎𝕾𝖊𝖘𝖊𝖓𝖌. (@_maxlaurent) October 1, 2021