Playboy's Rebranding Culminates In Profile of Hijab-Clad Woman

ntagouri -Instagram-Screen shot - H 2016
Courtesy of Instagram/ntagouri

It's a new frontier.

In the words of X-Ambassadors, journalist Noor Tagouri is "living like a renegade" — which is why Playboy named her as one of its 2016 Renegades.

The term is defined by the glossy as a man or woman that "will change how you think about business, music, porn, comedy, gaming and more," and who has "risked it all — even their lives — to do what they love." (Fellow Renegades include novelist Paul Beatty, comedian Ali Wong and Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace.)

The feature, which sounds more like a GQ cover story than content for a formerly x-rated men's mag, is part of the magazine's rebranding scheme, which most notably kicked off with the end of nude images in print (yes, really) in February of this year. But in choosing Tagouri — a Muslim woman who proudly wears the hijab to protect her modesty — for a full feature, including photos,  Playboy's image makeover went zero to one hundred real quick.

Ten years ago, no one would have believed that "modesty" and "Playboy" would be found together in the same sentence (unless that sentence was something like, "Playboy has killed modesty"), a fact that goes unacknowledged in her profile, which sticks to elements of the 22-year-old's job as an on-camera reporter for video news site Newsy.

"I may dress a little different — I’m a reporter who happens to wear a head scarf and I live in my hoodie — but being a story teller, motivational speaker, entrepreneur and unapologetically myself has opened so many doors for thousands of people," she said.

The story, "Media Wunderkind Noor Tagouri Makes a Forceful Case for Modesty," was written by a woman (Anna del Gaizo), and the accompanying photos were also taken by a woman (Kate Warren), adding an additional layer that seems to defy the element objectification — once the purpose of the magazine. Ultimately, the piece paints a simple picture of another woman fighting to shatter glass ceilings, change the perception of America's Muslim population and tell untold stories. 

Reactions to the profile, both from the Muslim community as well as Playboy's loyal fan base, have been mixed. Several of her own fans reacted by commenting on her Instagram, some showing her support while others expressing shock she could give Playboy the time of day. "Her message is good but the platform she's on isn't because Playboy hyper sexualizes women," wrote one follower. 

Added another, "Maybe you're modest compared to a nude woman, but not legitimately modest. You let your ego get in the way of everything and on the way you stooped down to the level of [Playboy] and dragged all hijabis with you."