The publishing world is beset by many existential problems. With declining revenues owing to the segmentation of market audiences, to decreasing relevance in the era of the internet, staying afloat is an everyday struggle for most.
With these considerations in mind, and amid changing attitudes towards social issues such as civil rights, one legacy publisher in America made the bold decision to feature an openly gay man on its cover for the very first time.
Playboy, the famed nudie mag turned cultural chronicler, recently made Filipino beauty influencer Bretman Rock as their cover star, breaking from traditional, cultural norms. Bretman joins a small cast of only three men who has donned the bunny ears, namely actors Ezra Miller and Paul Rudd, and musician Bad Bunny.
The 23-year-old is an internet sensation in his own right, first breaking into the mainstream on YouTube with his eccentric personality and beauty tutorials. More recently, Bretman has also starred in high-profile, made-for-internet shows such as 30 Days With: Bretman Rock and Following: Bretman Rock (a reality series produced by MTV).
“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,” he said on Playboy’s official Instagram.
Bretman, full name Bretman Rock Sacayanan Laforga, was born in the Philippines, but moved to Hawaii at the age of seven. He was previously honoured on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list, as well as Breakout Social Star at the 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards.