Model and Producer Geena Rocero Makes History as a Playboy Playmate of the Year and Celebrates Sixth Anniversary of her Iconic TED Talk on Trans Day of Visibility

By GLAAD |
March 31, 2020

Model, producer, and transgender advocate Rocero made history again when she was announced as part of Playboy’s Playmates of the Year earlier this month, a first for a transgender woman. This year, Playboy is honoring all twelve women who appeared in the magazine’s 2019 pages for each of their unique contributions to the brand and brought them together for a historic celebration photo and video shoot. Rocero was previously named Playboy’s 2019 August Playmate, making her the first trans Asian Pacific Islander to be selected as a playmate of the month.

Rocero first spoke about being trans in a TED Talk which was released six years ago on Transgender Day of Visibility. Her viral talk has since been viewed more than 4 million times and translated in 32 languages.

Being the August 2019 playmate as well as being part of Playboy's Playmates of the Year are not just vanity projects for Rocero - they were opportunities for her to advocate and provide visibility for the transgender community. Having already spoken about transgender rights and issues at the the United Nations as part of the Beyond Binaries initiatives in July 2019, Rocero made sure that Playboy's article on her also highlighted her advocacy for the trans community. That article has since been nominated for a 2020 GLAAD Media Award in the Outstanding Magazine Article category. Rocero then continued the momentum of her platform when she spoke on transgender issues at the 2020 World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos alongside gay Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.

“I am honored to be the first trans woman to be included for the iconic Playboy Playmates of the Year shoot,” said Rocero. “Playboy has become like a family to me. I appreciate their support of my advocacies and me as a storyteller. For the Playboy article "In Her Element" to be nominated for a GLAAD Award is an honor and proves the point that they see me as my full self, as a woman, as an immigrant and a proud trans person.”

“Geena’s voice, advocacy, and modeling have inspired and opened peoples’ minds around the world. She consistently forges new paths for transgender women in fashion, modeling, and international advocacy,” said Alex Schmider, GLAAD’s Associate Director of Transgender Representation. “By spotlighting talented and beautiful models like Geena, Playboy is amplifying a simple fact that other media outlets should echo loudly: trans women are women.”

Rocero was born and raised in Manila, Philippines, and is a model, speaker, and producer. She is the founder of Gender Proud, a media production company that tells stories about trans and gender non-conforming people. With Gender Proud Productions, she produced and presented "Beautiful As I Want to Be" on Logo highlighting trans youth, which received a 2016 GLAAD Media Award. Gender Proud also produced "Willing and Able,” a 2017 GLAAD Media Award-nominated web series about transgender employment with Fusion TV. She worked with Fusion/Univision to produce a documentary about transgender athletes, "No League of Their Own," which received the 2017 Association of LGBTQ Journalists Best in Health and Fitness Coverage. She co-executive produced the 2018 GLAAD Media Award-nominated "Made To Model," a documentary on nine pioneers and emerging trans model, in collaboration with Logo, MTV and VH1. She also co-hosted the Webby Awards honoree series ASPIREist, broadcasted on HLN/CNN.

Rocero has also spoken at the White House under President Obama, the World Economic Forum, United Nations, the State Department, several Fortune 500 companies and was featured on E's “I am Cait,” the cover of Candy Magazine, Vanity Fair: Trans America, Marriott's #LoveTravels Campaign and CoverGirl Cosmetics #GirlsCan Campaign. She became one of the first trans models to be featured on the cover of any Harper’s BAZAAR international edition when she appeared on the cover of Harper's BAZAAR India, alongside Tyra Banks. Rocero has walked runways for Chromat, Carmen Marc Valvo, and Marco Marco, among many others.