Playboy's Long History of Supporting the LGBTQ+ Community w/ Former Editor-in-Chief, Shane Michael Singh,
PRIDE
PRIDE

Episode · 2 months ago

Playboy's Long History of Supporting the LGBTQ+ Community w/ Former Editor-in-Chief, Shane Michael Singh,

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Playboy Magazine is one of the most recognized companies around today. The adult magazine, easily identified by its logo of a rabbit in a bow tie, challenged sexual restrictions and frequently celebrated women's bodies on their covers. Though their audience is traditionally white, cis, straight men, you might be surprised to learn that the magazine has a long-running history of LGBTQ+ advocacy. Today, you can see their advocacy proudly displayed on the front pages of their digital publication. 

In this episode, we speak with the first gay Editor and Chief of of Playboy, Shane Michael Singh and cover:

  • Playboy’s queer history
  • How the magazine supports the queer community today
  • Shane’s story of coming to terms with his sexuality and his journey to becoming Playboy’s Editor and Chief, and his latest impactful work with the Trevor Project.  

Your host is Levi Chambers, founder of Rainbo Media Co. You can follow Levi @levichambers across socials.

Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @PRIDE across socials.

Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com.

PRIDE is produced by Levi Chambers, Frank Driscoll, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson, and Brandon Marlo. Edited by Frank Driscoll and Daniel Ferrera.

Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com.

*This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media.

...straught media. You put a playboy down on your coffee table, I don't care who who it is that walks through the front doors. It could be your grandma, it could be your sister or it could be, you know, a friend or a stranger. They're gonna look at that, they're gonna make comment about it and they might pick it up and flip through it and they might giggle or they might say, Oh wow, this is really cool right. There is a natural um interest there. I'm the by chambers. My pronouns are he, him, his, and this is pride. Playboy magazine is one of the most recognized companies around today. The adult magazine, easily identified by its logo of a rabbit and a bow tie, challenge sexual restrictions and frequently celebrated women's bodies on their covers. Though their audience is traditionally white, CIS gender straight men, you might be surprised to learn that the magazine has a long running history of lgbt q plus advocacy. Today you can see their advocacy proudly displayed on the front pages of their digital publication. In this four part episode, we speak with the first editor in Chief of Playboy Shane Michael Sang part one will cover playboy's queer history. Part Two looks at how the magazine supports the Queer community today. Part three is all about Shane's story of coming to terms with his sexuality and his journey to become playboy's editor in chief, and part four highlights his latest impact work with the Trevor Project. Let's dive in. My name is Shane Michael saying. I used he him, pronounced Um, and I am a journalist at heart. And its sixty six year history, Shane is the first gay man to become editor in chief of Playboy magazine. You know, I was very lucky early in my career to have an opportunity, Um, to join Playboy magazine in Chicago. Shane is here to walk us through playboys lgbt Q plus history, his rise to power within the company and the importance of Queer inclusion in media today. I'm Shane Michael Singh and this is pride. First I ever wanted to be realized, I wanted to be a writer and a journalist, was when I subscribed to entertainment weekly at the age of twelve, and back then they were doing fantastic journalism. About film, about, you know, TV, about playwrights and such. Shane graduated from Northwestern University's Meddill School of Journalism and at the age of twenty two he was working for a world renowned entertainment magazine. He started working at Playboy magazine as a fact checker. One of the best jobs you could have in journalism Um is as a fact checker. You get to work with incredible writers, you get to listen back to transcripts and understand how interviews are conducted. Yes, believe it or not, Playboy magazine has fact checkers. When you think of the magazine, you probably picture a woman on the cover wearing black bunny ears and little to no clothing. Playboy built a brand that showcased and celebrated sexuality, but the magazine was more than just bearing it all for the cover. When playboy was first published, it wasn't full frontal nudity. Sometimes it wasn't nudity at all. They were basically images...

...that you would see on instagram today, and we know what influence what instagram is today and how people are using that sort of lens as a currency for expressing themselves. Right the first cover of playboy came out in December of nineteen fifty three and featured a scandalous photo of Marilyn Monroe on a red velvet background. When you flip the page and open the magazine you'd see that Hefner and his team had created something with substance. Well, the joke was, you know, I read playboy for the articles. Um. Playboy wouldn't have been successful if it didn't have some of the best writers from the get go when it was, you know, founded in the early nineteen fifties. So some of their earliest serialized James Bond short stories were published in playboy. Um, playboy had the playboy interview. Miles Davis was the first playboy interview. This was a ten thousand and fifteen thousand word long form, you know, back and forth between one of the most you know, prolific, you know thinkers of the time and somebody representing playboy talking about Um politics, talking about cannabis reform, talking about, you know, Um sexual freedom, talking about identity, storytelling, all of it, Um, race, etcetera. The list goes on. Um. Some of the most profound thinkers of our time have sat down for the playboy interview. Um from Dolly Parton all the way to Dick Cheney. Right, Hugh hefner built a brand that was focused on sophistication, Um, sophisticated living, sophisticated thinking, and we are all humans. So that involved an appreciation of sex. That involved exploring our sexuality again. Uh. You know, postwar America was pretty buttoned up and what playboy represented was that we could be more Um and there was more to us than say, who we appeared publicly, who we appeared when we went to work. Right, Um, there was there was a way in which there were a lot of questions we had um, about the role of sex and gender in our lives. You know, this was around the time of the Kinsey report came out. Right, so it was super countercultural. But the reason why playboy skyrocketed to a place where it became one of the most recognizable brands in the world is because people were hungry for this. No, Shane started at the bottom of the food chain as a fact checker. He played a vital role in the businesses day to day operations. When I joined playboy we had six fact checkers. Um, we had, I think, about five copy editors. Uh, we were an editorial institution. We were a publishing company and the rigors with which we applied journalistic standards is what helped attract fantastic writers, from Paul throw to Roger Ebert to, you know, Betty for Dan Um, et Cetera, and and even through, you know, during my tenure, was able to, you know, have Paul W dowlands. He just won an emmy for hacks. He wrote a piece for us. Um, we had Roxanne Gay in the magazine. Molly Young, fast to the daughter of Erica Young, was one of my contributors. Right. There is...

...an institution. There's a level of respect for the ideas that playboy offered to the world as a platform, not as a brand, but as a platform for how we can evolve as Um, you know, evolved as a species through the lens of Sexuality and through the Lens of sexual freedom. Um. So, yeah, fact checking was important to that. Fact Checking was, uh, core to our legitimacy and also core to our heritage as a magazine. If you're not familiar with playboys history, it may be a surprise to learn the company has a hefty track record of lgbtq plus advocacy. In March nineteen sixty nine, three months before the stonewall riots, uh, the editors published a letter Um that argued against conversion therapy, which we know is still legal in more than twenty some states here in the US. Um increases risk of suicide among those who are exposed to conversion therapy. Um. This was in nineteen sixty nine, and playboy labeled this letter gay is good, right, and this was a national magazine, prolific magazine and huge numbers in terms of subscribers, and playboy was using its platform at that point, back in ninety nine, before the stone wall rights, to advocate for LGBTQ. People have have stayed the course on that, you know, featuring, you know, allowing you know, boy George to talk about, you know, their sexuality in the Playboy interview, inviting a lot of queer folks to contribute to the magazine in different ways. Um, I think it was in the early nine nineties at the Playboy Mansion Hugh heffner hosted an AIDS benefit. Right, Um, Rose Anne Arnold at that time, who was massive on TV with her ABC Sitcom. Um, I think MC the event, or at least attended. So when I, you know, have come in as a as a gay man, and especially as a gay man who is put in a position of leadership under a microscope. I think about the history of playboy and that's what inspired inspired me throughout my years. After starting as a fact Checker, Shane climbed the leadership ladder and became an executive editor of playboy dot com. In his new position, one of his goals was to diversify the team, identify as assist gender, gay man, Um and bring out more of those stories that I felt playboy had a right to tell Um and had a responsibility to tell within our space. Um as a brand that represents sexual freedom, that represents everybody deserves, you know, the right to access pleasure, whether that's sexual or not. Um, lgbtq people have always resonated in my perspective, from my point of view, with what the brand stood for Um. So that was a great opportunity to hire a lot of lgbtq writers to write for playboy DOT COM. Founder and editor in chief, Hugh Hefner, died at years old, leaving Shane as executive editor of playboy enterprises and editor in chief of Playboy magazine. It were big shoes to fill, but it's...

...it was one of the, you know, one of the best jobs I've ever had. Everything that you could imagine about what that environment could be like in terms of creativity, in terms of collaboration, in terms of pushing the envelope. You had free reign to do it all around the same time Shane took over as editor in chief, the company noticed a new generation of playboy readers. We would see Billie eilish wearing a playboy shirt, uh, you know, without that wasn't a sponsored deal. We would see uh, young people on tiktok wearing playboy swag. We would see a lot of counterfeit playboy swag out there right. So we knew that there was something about this brand that was attracting millennials and Gen z. So let's talk about Ezra Miller problematic. Um, it was around that the fantastic beast movie was coming out. They had begun to express themselves publicly, Um, uh, and express their gender expression in different ways. So when, UH, my entertainment editor Ryan Gayevski said, you know, I'm talking to Ezra Miller, said, pitched the idea of them wearing the bunny airs because I always looked at the bunny airs as an expression, a form of gender expression, right for for CIS gender women. But I wanted to push that a little bit and we're lucky that Ezra Miller found that compelling and was down for it. Miller's playboy cover stirred a lot of conversation around the future of the magazine and Lgbtq plus representation in media. In the interview with the publication, Miller spoke openly about their identity and at the time revealed they identified as polyamorous and Queer. So it always started that conversation with, say, the subject Gina Rossara, who was our second transgender playmates. Um, it wasn't about the fact of US having a transgender playmate, it was about giving Gina a platform to advocate for her point of view on femininity, her point of view on identity, Um, and she very much appreciated what the brand of playboy stood for. So all of this was organic. It was organic going back to the history of playboy, but with me it was really trying to appeal to how millennials and Gen z were thinking about sexuality. We're thinking about gender and ensuring that playboy continue to be a platform in the same way that they published that letter gave is good way. Back in nine the magazine had been pushing the boundaries of a strictly straight publication for years. Before Hugh hefner's passing, Shane pitched the idea of playboy pride, an editorial campaign that launched in and featured essays from five influential voices across media and entertainment. The we will march on say, series started a year long renewal of Playboy's commitment to L G B T Q plus people. Playboy pride, I would call it a mini, you know, package. It was for playboy DOT com. At that time, Hugh Hefner was solely focused on the magazine. Um, he didn't necessarily uh, you know, sign off on every article that was running on playboy dot com. Um. But again, you know, I want to mention a story,...

UH, regarding Tula, or Caroline Cossey, who was the first transgender woman to appear Um, naked in in in Playboy magazine. That was in the late eighties and nineties. Uh, she appeared twice, Um, and that was negotiated between her and Hugh Hefner, right, and she tells the story and then interview I did with Caroline Cossey in two thou fifteen find online. She says. When I met Hugh Hefner, he looked in my eyes and he saw my story and he saw me as a human being and as a transgender woman. In the early nineteen nineties, Um, a very famous transgender woman. You know, she was on hard copy and entertainment tonight and the leadings would be songs about, you know, she's a lady or you know how these gender references that they would just make you cringe today. Um. So I wasn't worried when I started leaning into lgbtq content about whether it would have hugh heffner's blessing. I again, I knew it would. Um, there was a time where I worked very closely with Hugh Hefner's son, Cooper Hoffner, who was a massive lgbtq advocate. He was a huge ally of me during my career there, UM, and we had wonderful conversations about how to ensure that we're reaching this audience in a in a h the right way. Despite having immense support for all campaigns celebrating the LGBT Q plus community, not all readers were supportive of the magazine's advocacy in terms of what consumers or fans of the brand thought. Uh, you're always you know, you can find a troll anywhere, you can find a Bot anywhere, you can find a troll anywhere. But yeah, they were haters. There are a lot of haters. I think one of the letters I got was, uh, your magazine is gay, just like you. I hate you and I actually still have that letter. Right. Um, you can go on Instagram at any time, on instagram maybe, I mean even today. I know that playboy just did something with Brett and rock. Um, why am I looking at this? Playboy? Hugh Heffner's rolling in his grave. That's a popular one. Hugh Hefner's rolling in his grave. But it's like, actually, no, you know, I can't. They read a history book, but you know, read, read the playboy history book. Go back to an issue from the nineteen sixties and nineteen seventies. This is, this is his Um, he was, he was an advocate. Um. So, but I had to bread crumb. You had to you know that you had to give a little bit. You couldn't just flip the switch on overnight and then you're able to in have that moment with Ezra Miller, where you have, you know, Um, a gender non binary person wearing the bunny ears, you know, and get blowing up and creating this really special viral moment for us. We did the same thing with King Princess, King Princess, uh, you know, the photo director and the creative director did this beautiful shoot with King Princess and that blew up and and you saw that. Okay, YOU'RE gonna get a lot of the haters. You are always going to get the haters when you're pushing boundaries, in the same way that playboy got haters in the nineteen fifties. Right, Um, but you just got to believe in what you're doing is right and you got to believe that it atters and...

I always believe that that's what helped me, you know, stay the course. When we come back, Shane shares his story of coming to terms with his sexuality and explains why Queer Representation in the media is more important now than ever. Welcome back. Today we're talking with Shane Michael saying, the first game man to helm playboy enterprises as executive editor and editor in chief. Before the break, Shane walked us through playboy's history of lgbt q plus advocacy and the numerous projects he established while working for the company as a proud member of the queer community. But before Shane could begin his advocacy work in the media, he had to come to terms with his own identity. You know, I'm I'm thirty three now and I grew up and started to form my identity, as you know, a teenager in the in the era of don't ask, don't tell, Um, obviously, the ban on being able to donate blood. Um. At the same time, that will and grace and queer I was was on TV. I always considered myself, Um, to be white. You know, my first name, Shane Michael, with my last name sing it wasn't until a I grew up in Rurle Illinois, and it wasn't until I got all that bubble that I realized I'm not. I'm mixed race, you know, and it's just because I hadn't had exposure, especially not on television. Slowly but surely, Shane came into his own racial identity and sexual orientation. When he started at playboy, he was fortunate enough to be working at a company that accepted Shane for precisely who he was. When you're associated with the company at Sutras storied history, they would ask you what's it like being a gay man working at playboy, and sometimes I didn't know how to answer it and I said it's great. It's great because everybody accepts me. It's inclusive company, like my sexuality has has no issue, like it's not an issue at all. Despite feeling accepted, Shane did worry if his sexuality would ultimately affect his ability to climb the professional ladder within the company. I always wanted to be a magazine editor. I always wanted to rise to level being an editor in chief of a magazine and for a long time, especially, you know, early in my career, I would wonder will being gay prevent me the opportunity from growing in a company that has historically targeted homosexual, I mean, I'm sorry, heterosexual men Um uh. This question came all the way through. I did an interview with with Mpruh, and the question was, and I brought the story up, is can I be a good leader of a traditionally heterosexual magazine or media outlet, whatever it might be, as a gay man Um and that's because I didn't have representation, there wasn't visibility, there wasn't somebody out there like me who was doing it. You know, there wasn't another mixed race gay man Um that I knew...

...was doing what I was trying to do, say a at a G Q or say an esquire Um. You know, the sort of consumer mail market, magazine market had really been traditionally led by, you know, older white men. So when we have Bretman Rock, and actually I'm not associated at all with like sort of that, that shoot, I think it's it's it's amazing. Bretman rock is an amazing ambassador for playboy and very happy that my old playboy family were able to to launch that partnership or collaboration with Bretman Rock, but with Ezra Miller. Um, it was very much about if I could just change one mind, if I could just make one person out there see themselves in this world in a way that that, you know, could help them. Um. You know that that's the importance. That's the importance of it, and it goes beyond. You know, a lot of the other work was related to Um, transgender, instance, gender women too. You know, we we had Toronto Burke interviewed in the magazine, uh, and having the ounder of me to give a ten thousand word interview in Playboy magazine Right, Um to me. I just thought that that was that was incredible. And we had a lot of other wonderful voices that were able to contribute. Um, you know Darnel Moore, who you know works at Netflix now, but he's a fantastic writer. Um, he contributed an essay. We had some really great people to bring different perspectives and to help show that this Americana brand, playboy right, this traditionally white, Heterosexual Americana Brand, actually is a space for everybody. Shane hopes the work he did for playboy continues to inspire others to see themselves in the media and know that anything is possible. Well, we know that visibility matters. You know that. We know that when it comes to mental health and LGBTQ people are at greater risk of suicide, especially lgbtq young people. We know that visibility and representation and in media can move the needle in terms of being a protective factor against somebody feeling so lost in a loan in the this world. Shane's legacy at playboy stretches beyond featuring lgbt q plus icons on their covers. In playboy launched the pride is good campaign under Shane's leadership to support the Trevor Projects Fight to end conversion therapy in the United States. The campaign was supported by more than twenty lgbt q plus influencers, from youtubers like Kyle Krieger to artists like Seth Bogart to drag performers such as Aquarius. Shane also contracted playboys first openly transgender contributing editor, Ashley Marie Preston, and contributed to playboys first glad media award nomination in for its profile on Gina Rossero as their twenty nineteen playmate. He said Gina Rosa was our second transgender playmate. Our first was and as raw, she was our first transgender playmate in November of Um that lined up with the passing of Hugh Hefner. He passed away in September, so we were actually uh shipping the magazine and you know, and as row, I have to...

...commend her for her grace in her spirit, because that was a massive moment for for us playboy to to name the first transgender play a bit playmate, but also with just coming off the heels of Hugh hef nurse's death. Um, playboy was honored by the lgbtq British awards, Um, and she opened a door, you know, and then so Gina Rossara in nineteen kind of took that baton and, you know, led to US getting our first glad media nomination, which is fantastic. You know, playboy is not taking seriously in in a lot of places, but to be seen and recognized by glad, which you know is sort of a golden stamp of approval that you're doing okay, you're representing Lgbtq people and you're you're doing okay, was massive. So I think that, from my perspective, the fact that Playboy magazine can say had a glad media nomination because of Gina Rosso Um and her advocacy of the brand. It's it's just tremendous. It's tremendous. Yeah, do you feel like the brand actually queerness is important to its longevity? As you know, Gen z becomes the consumers. Eventually Playboy's original audience will have shifted to something else and and people who were brought up at a different time so do you feel like queerness is actually important to its survival as a publication? Yeah, I think. I think acknowledging that Queer people exist is important for any company that is trying to be successful. Um, one and four of lgbtq young people today identify as non binary. Um, I think that I posed a question on my twitter about whether someone who is USSIS gender assist gender straight person, whether they could also experience being queer. You know, Um, uh, and I it was. It was an even even split in terms of like whether assist gender straight person could have, you know, queer experiences and share that part part of themselves. Um, and that was really inspired by bad bunny, you know. Um, people feel like bad bunny is co opting uh, sort of queer, you know, Fashion Queer, you know, style and but I'm like you. Here you have a Latin x global superstar WHO's going on sn L and wearing a t shirt. You know, Um, that really is speaking on behalf of a transgender woman who is murdered, right, and who was miss gendered at the you know, by investigators, by corners and such like that. Right, so I think that bad bunny could very much be a queer. ICON. Um, bad bunny is, as I understand his identity, CIS gender and straight. But there you have that overlap. Right, if you want to appeal or attract somebody who might listen to bad bunnies music, you have to understand his respect for the queer community and you have to understand that are queer people like somebody like that and you can't sile of those people anymore, right, you can't silo...

...those groups. Um. The thing with playboy is that playboys a global brand, right, playboy and and you know, when you think about you know the glocally how brands show up locally. Playboy um very much represents American values and sort of Asia markets. You know, Um, playboy is much more you know, a lot younger people, you know kids, recognize playboy what it is. I think that a lot of Gen Z and millennials, it's just a Gen z here in the states, kind of start to learn about it when they're probably a little bit older. So as a global company, perhaps you know throwing up, you know, an appreciation for Queer people or or understanding how to factor, you know that that demographic into an overall strategy globally. We might not be there yet. But here in the US, Um, I can't imagine, even for CIS Gender Straight Millennials, uh, that that a company that denies the existence of Queer people is going to have by for him to grow. Do you feel like there has been when, during your time, specifically at playboy, and so, excluding its actions in the sixties and and queers covers in the eighties and that were trans inclusive, what do you feel like was the most impactful action taken by the brand, even if you know you were the mind behind that during your time, in support of the LGBT Q plus community? I would say, let me try to answer this to two different ways. Um, personally, it was all of the trust that I was given, Um, not just by, you know, my leaders at playboy, Um, but also, you know, the Haffner family, via Cooper Haffner two, to tell this part of my story through editorial strategy, if that makes sense, to elevate queer voices, to bring that into the fold. It was tough, you know, there it was. It was really, really tough. Um. Okay, am I over gayifying playboy? You know, looking at some of those comments and I am, I am, I am, I taking it too far. Am I pushing it too far? Is this going too fast? Am I starting to are we losing more people than we're gaining? Right? I had all of those questions. I would wake up in the middle night sweating, thinking I'm not doing enough, and the next night I would wake up thinking I'm doing way too much and I'm it's it's going to come back and completely fall apart Um. So the most, you know, one of the most impactaful things is the trust that was given to me by my colleagues, was given to me by my team of editors, Um them believing in in this vision that I had. Um the creative director, Eric Loe, you know, and the multimedia director, Anna Wilson. I would have an idea and they would say, okay, let's do it, and then they would bring it to life. It would be more beautiful than I actually thought it could be. Shane left playboy in twenty nineteen to work with the Trevor Project. However, the iconic magazine continues to honor its history and carry on the work...

...and legacy Shane left behind. They welcome their first gay mail cover star, Youtube Personality Brettman Rock, to their October digital issue. When Shane looks back at the work he did for playboy, he says it all feels like a fever dream. I forget, you know, a lot, um, because you know, when you when you are put in a position putting out a magazine, Um, and bringing the best stories to life. You know, like I said, I wasn't trying to gaify everything. Um, I was just trying to do a good job, you know. Um, I was. I my identity, of course, informed the stories and lenses in which we should tell those stories and the sort of like how we should, you know, open our net in terms of the voices that we bring in. But first and foremost, you know, I am a journalist and I grew up loving magazines, buying them and reading them back back, you know, front to back, and I kept them for many years. Uh, you know, I had hundreds upon hundreds of magazines and my child, childhood closet. Um, I would every time, you know, I'd end up finishing an article, I would read who was it written by? An understanding. Okay, I would start to align myself with certain writers and certain writing types and stuff. Um, this was all before twitter, this was all before, you know, sort of you can make these these different kind of connections. So I just wanted to do a good job as a journalist, I wanted to do a good job as a magazine editor. Um, I wanted to do right by my team and then I also wanted to do right by my community and right by my personal experiences. So I don't think you know, even having left the company and it being two years now, Um, I it feels almost like it's an identity as a part of myself that I keep it at a distance, um, because it was never anything that necessarily was sort of hyped up and we didn't make a big deal about it. Of course, when I was interviewed by The New York Times for this piece, you know, of course I mentioned it there because it's important to me. You know, of course a lot of people knew it. When I didn't interview the MPR. You know, the question was raised there. What is it? What does it feel like to to be a gay man editing playboy? Um. But internally, uh, the team there, they just they just believed in what I could do and it wasn't sort of like a tokenization. I never felt tokenze. So it feels great to say it, but it also feels as if like, okay, did that happen? It did happen. Did I actually process that? That happened. Um. So there's a lot of sort of mixed feelings but, you know, a lot of pride. A lot of pride for sure. But but something I forget kind of with is a merit on my resume. I guess I became known as Shane changed from playboy or like playboy Shane Right, just socially and you know, I'd call up a publicist and it's like, oh, hey, Shane from playboy right. So it became part of some of my it was like my new last name every time I had a new opportunity. Um, it was more about like Oh wow, this is this is investing in my growth. So by the time I got to the top, like again,...

I'd been out at playboy since they joined. So the fact that they were elevating me, I was hoping, was more merit based than like thinking about like me as an outside candidate and they're like Oh, we need a new voice, we need someone representing the Queer experience, we need a gay editor. that any of that discussion was on the table. It was more just, you know, Shane knows the brand, Shane knows what we need to do and he's the right guy for the job. I think that actually says more about Um the brand, it's history, it's dedication to diversity, and that that wasn't part of the discussion and that, knowing all of those elements of who you were, because you had a history there, they just trusted that you'd be able to make the right decisions for the brand and that, I think that speaks volumes for playboy. Yes, very much, very much, I would agree. Since leaving playboy in teen, Shane has worked with the Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention efforts among Lgbtwoq plus youth, and it was actually that introduction happened because the Trevor Project in playboy did a partnership together. Uh, the Trevor Project, as a youth basing brand, wasn't necessarily sold on the idea of partnering with a legacy brand that has mostly appealed to heterosexualsis gender men. Uh, that was a partnership we had a fight for and and luckily the partnerships team there Um saw saw the vision and saw the value in in us, you know, sharing the mission of that great organization with our readership and our audience. Um. And at that point, after almost ten years, I realized I had accomplished more than I ever thought I could. Um and, you know, like I said, all I ever wanted to do was be, you know, an editor of a magazine, and I did, and it was for one of the most famous magazines in the world and one of the most famous brands. That's on par with Apple, with Disney, with Nike. You know. Also, I'm like, what else could I possibly do? I could keep doing this, but I'm like, I think I'm good, I think that I've done everything that I need to do here. So I went to the Trevor Project and had a fantastic time. They're developing lgbtq inclusive campaigns and cause marketing initiatives with Puma and with Tiktok and with some really great brands. Um, today I'm I'm back in the editorial world. I couldn't, I couldn't take a break from storytelling for too long. So I'm an editorial director at this fantastic design firm in San Francisco called Godfrey datage partners and we help brands tell better stories. Um. We've worked with Nike, Um, we've worked with UM lift, we've worked with some really incredible brands about how to infuse sort of their values into a storytelling strategy, into an editorial strategy. Um. So I'm very much, uh, enjoying my time bringing everything I learned at playboy into other brand ecosystems and helping them grow through through really compassionate, effective and...

...interesting storytelling. You can stay connected with Shane's future projects by following him on social media. You can follow me on instagram. It's at Shane Michael One, the number one, and on twitter I'm at Mr Shane Michael. So give me a follow, Um and uh stay in touch. Pride is a production of Straw hut media. If you like the show, leave us a rating and review on Apple, podcasts, spotify, wherever you listen to podcasts. Then follow us on Tiktok, instagram, facebook, twitter and snapchat at pride and tune in weekly for more. Be Sure to share this episode with your friends and subscribe for more stories from Amazing Queer people. If you'd like to connect with me, you can follow me everywhere at Levi Chambers Pride is produced by me Levi Chambers, Frank Risco, Maggie Bowls, Ryan Tillotson and Brandon Marlowe, edited by Rank Triscoll and Daniel Ferrara.

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