Model, television personality, advocate, entrepreneur, and now an ambassador. The multi-hyphenated Amber Rose recently announced her partnership with leading pleasure and leisure lifestyle brand Playboy, as well as her appointment as a founding creator of PLBY Group, Inc.’s creator-led, digital platform CENTERFOLD. For those who may not be hip, CENTERFOLD is deemed as the “next evolution of Playboy’s long history at the intersection of culture and sex” through its dedication to creative freedom, artistic expression, and sex positivity.
Rose was first approached with the opportunity to partner with Playboy nearly six months ago. While she took some time to take it under consideration, Rose was finally convinced once she went to the Playboy offices herself and noticed that there was a team of all women exuding nothing less than positive energy all around. “I was like, ‘Hell yeah, I definitely want to work with them,’ so that’s how it all went down,” she told ESSENCE excitedly.
Playboy’s CENTERFOLD was initially launched by rapper Cardi B when she was announced as the first-ever Creative Director in Residence back in December 2021. “My first project with @playboy !!! introducing CENTERFOLD, so excited to share this platform with so many amazing creators @playboycenterfold,” the “Hot Shit” rapper wrote on Instagram when she revealed herself as a Founding Member. The Bronx-bred rapper’s duties involve artistic direction for the magazine, digital editorial content, merchandise, expanding the Playboy brand, and more.
“CENTERFOLD is basically original content that people can buy or subscribe to that won’t be on any other social media pages or anything like that. So a lot of behind-the-scenes, sexy pictures, stuff that you can’t really post on the internet,” Rose explained about the platform. In addition to housing completely original content that subscribers will want to purchase, Rose is particularly fond of the platform because her “actual fans” are the ones coming to support her brand and “see me in a different light,” she added.
“Amber is a force of nature. Her entrepreneurial spirit, bold and creative self-expression, and commitment to advocating for women’s equality are a natural fit with Playboy and on CENTERFOLD,” said Rachel Webber, Chief Brand & Strategy Officer, PLBY Group, in an official press release. “We can’t wait for her to launch on CENTERFOLD and to see all of the behind-the-scenes content and live experiences she’s planning to share exclusively with her fans on the platform.”
As time moves along, CENTERFOLD will reveal new creators across various verticals from music and adult entertainment to fitness and fashion while subscribers receive special access to the creator and their content. Rose continued to praise the CENTERFOLD platform for its willingness to give fans and subscribers direct access to their favorite stars and personalities to not only build a trusted relationship but house their content on a trusted platform.
Rose continued, “I think a lot of girls or women throughout the years always wanted to be in an actual Playboy centerfold in the magazine. Now we can actually be part of it without waiting for the prints of the magazine, going through a whole casting situation, or being around weirdo men that tell us that we’re not good enough or whatever. I love the fact that we can all be a part of an iconic brand run by women, which is the most important thing for me.”
ESSENCE caught up with the model and entrepreneur about the evolution of the Playboy brand, how she takes back the power of womanhood and sexuality through her fashion choices, and the importance of feeling empowered as a girl, woman, or gender-expansive person in your sensuality.
ESSENCE: How do you express and embrace your sexuality through fashion and style, and how do you find power in it?
Amber Rose: For me, I think people misunderstand. They think that if it’s just a short skirt, short shorts, or thongs, that’s just sexuality. Sometimes I want to dress androgynous and sometimes I want to dress in guy’s clothes. I think that just taking control of your body, what you wear, and things that you want to do, could be anything. It’s really what we want to do as women. That’s what I do. Right now, I have on a tracksuit. Another day, I might want to wear some booty shorts or I might want to post something sexy on Centerfold. It really just depends on my mood and I’m just in control of what I want to do. That’s empowering.
ESSENCE: Shifting to your music, how did you incorporate Playboy apparel into your latest music video, and what made you decide to do so?
Rose: We had the girls in Playboy shirts. We had the car, had Playboy all over at the Playboy Bunny. We had lights up with the Playboy Bunny, so we put it all through the music video. Again, I feel like Playboy and CENTERFOLD really just looked out for me. I just wanted to just give that back through my video and promote them in a way where women can now know that it’s very different than it was back in the ’80s and ’90s. It’s extremely different now and it is about women empowerment fully, 100%.
ESSENCE: You mentioned earlier how sometimes men or even sometimes women will judge us for embracing our sexuality. Why is it so important to convey the message to women of all shapes, sexualities, and races to stand firm in their sexuality and not be ashamed of it?
Rose: I think it’s very important, but I also, unfortunately, think – or know -that we get shamed a lot. We get shamed a lot, regardless. If we’re a lesbian, if we’re cisgender, if we’re trans, it really doesn’t matter. We get shamed a lot by men and by a lot of women, and that’s why I obviously started my SlutWalk and I speak out against the injustice [against] women all the time. I see a lot of comments where women are like, “Oh, her body is this,” or “Oh, her body is that,” or “Why she got that on?,” or “She’s too big to wear this,” or “She ain’t got no booty.” It’s always something.
I have full conversations in DMs with the people that I post and I ask them if they’re okay. I ask them how they feel. I ask them permission if I can post them. I try to give them a heads up [about] what it’s going to be like if they’re down for the negative comments [and] if they’re okay with that because it has nothing to do with them at all. It’s just the people that are just negative. I keep in touch with them.
One of the girls was going back and forth in the comments with people. I hit her up and I said, “Babe, I will be happy to archive the video if you’re uncomfortable. I just want you to be okay.” She was like, “No, I’m fighting for women’s empowerment. That’s why I’m arguing because this means so much to me and I’m happy that I can be a part of this movement.” Stuff like that makes my days easier and it lets me know that I’m doing the right thing.
ESSENCE: Think back to whatever your first Playboy memory was, whether it’s like you’re seeing your first centerfold or seeing it somewhere on the newsstand. In comparison to that image, how would you say the Playboy brand has grown?
Rose: Well, it is no secret that Playboy has had a lot of white women throughout the years. [Playboy] always wanted the blonde white girl. I love what they are doing now with Playboy; it’s women of all different backgrounds and sizes. They’re embracing every type of woman and I really, really appreciate [that] about them. That’s honestly why I really wanted to work with them because it’s not just a one-look type of girl that they’re looking for. That’s really important for me to even be involved in a brand that has to be inclusive. It has to be for everybody. That’s what CENTERFOLD brings to the table. It’s for every type of woman and I love that.