Life Video

By Josh Saunders

The Human Ken Doll has dressed in a PlayBoy bunny outfit and skimpy lingerie to support a gender fluidity campaign after childhood bullying for embracing his feminine side.

Rodrigo Alves, 34, pushes the boundaries in the New York photoshoot to show that men can be ‘sexy and attractive’ in effeminate clothing and to support those who feel unable to express themselves.

He recalls from childhood being allowed to play with dolls and wearing effeminate colours, without judgement until going to school.


Classmates would call him ‘gay boy’ and other names, as well as pushing him down the stairs for not conforming to gender-norms of the ‘masculine male’ image.

Despite this, in adult life he was able to alter his appearance to reflect his gender fluidity spending over half a million pounds on everything from fillers to a recent rib removal surgery – which he claims will be his last surgery.

For the photoshoot two weeks ago, he donned a PlayBoy Bunny and a Dominatrix outfit, nipple tassels and lingerie in a bid to normalise men being able to express themselves however they choose.

The photo-campaign by Thomas Evans, 32, called ‘Femme the Man’, which hopes to empower gender fluid individuals and encourage freedom of self-expression.

Rodrigo, who lives in London, said: “Growing up I was bought up as gender fluid in my home, there was no right or wrong with colour code for clothing, or the toys I wanted to play with.


“I was fortunate to be able to become who I wanted without being forced to conform to male or female norms.

“I liked to play with dolls and superheroes but never cars, which for the 80s and 90s, wasn’t the done thing.

“But from my own experience later in life, I was victimised heavily at school and bullied for being gender fluid.

“Boys would push me down the stairs and worse, I was overweight and misshapen, I always wanted to be with the girls as they treated me better.

“Gender-fluidity has gone on for centuries, men wore make-up and in the 50s wore corsets, so it’s nothing new.

“Since the rise in social media, people are more comfortable to show a side of themselves others may not see, but that doesn’t mean they are comfortable being in public.


“Growing up I was very much attacked and victimised for being visually different, but with gender fluidity being lesser known at the time no one could fight for me.

“I hope to empower people so that they can follow dreams and express themselves however they want to.

“I’m a free spirit person and am lucky enough to have been able to reinvent myself with the help of plastic surgery and being the Human Ken Doll, I’m able to express myself however I want.”

This was the first time, Rodrigo had posed-up in women’s lingerie and he revealed donning the feminine clothing was out of his comfort zone but also liberating at the same time.

‘Femme the Man’ aims to break down societal labels of choosing either male or female, and instead promoting gender fluidity.

Rodrigo said: “Being gender fluid is about being able to express how you feel and forgetting gender labels.


“By dressing as a PlayBoy Bunny, I show that a male can represent the sexiness, femininity and all that the branding represents.

“I felt very much liberated and in touch with my feminine side, it was sassy and matched my personality and I believe I looked nicely sexy.

“In the outfit with the tassels, I wanted to look like a burlesque dance, it questions why a male can’t perform burlesque, a man can look just as good with nipple tassels.

“I did feel a little out of my comfort zone, I have never been photographed wearing female lingerie before and being so exposed.

“The idea behind was to challenge myself and the viewers, to make people think before judging those that are gender fluid.”

For one of the most striking images, ‘the dirty glam’ look the image represents the problems gender fluid people can face while expressing themselves in public.


Left in a hair-net with smudged make-up to appear like he had just been beaten up, the striking image reiterates a 2012 study that concluded a third of all non-binary people have experienced physical assault.

Rodrigo added: “The dirty-glam images represent the bullying over appearance and body image, someone being humiliated for wanting to express themselves differently to most other people.

“It was very emotional, once I got the wig off and was made to look messy, I felt very sorry for those people who are unable to express themselves for fear of being attacked.”

Rodrigo and photo-artist Thomas hope that as part of the campaign gender-fluidity and people who challenge the gender norms will be more normalised in society.

He said: “People are unable to get jobs for showing gender fluidity with their self-expression, for example those in the profession industries like lawyers, bankers and others.

“Even myself, due to the surgery I have had, I could never be hired unless I was to be a hairdresser or make-up artist.

“Instead of being judged on their appearance, individuals should be judged on their skills and competence as a professional.


“Whether that’s wearing pink or painting their nails black, it doesn’t make you any less or more masculine, you can still be productive in the workplace but happier inside.

“In my eyes, as long as a person is not causing harm to themselves or others, they should be able to express themselves however they want to.”

He was chosen by photographer Thomas Evans, 32, who believes the reality star has created his own beauty and is a powerful figure that unashamedly embraces all aspects of his non-conformity.

Thomas, from Manhattan, New York, said: “Rodrigo to me, even though he dresses as a man in suits, he feminises himself with plastic surgery and embraces that side of his personality – he is a walking example of my campaign.

“Traditionally society puts people into boxes, men are meant to look masculine with facial hair, muscles and more, and equally, women are supposed to wear dresses, make-up, heels and more.

“I hope my photo-campaign normalises the idea that you can be whoever you want to be, and that people don’t have to label themselves to fit into societies categories.

“It’s important to show people how important freedom of self-expression is, that’s what Rodrigo does without fear or shame of what others will think.

“I believe society is moving in a rapid direction and understanding that gender is not male or female any more, the new generations is gender fluid.

“As part of that they don’t have to decide to be a man or woman, they can create their own path without those labels – I’m trying to help that concept by normalising the idea that you don’t have to be one gender.”

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