Laverne Cox is an acclaimed Emmy-nominated actress, producer, activist, and overall inspiration. Here‘s a glimpse at the woman behind the icon:
Early Life and Formative Experiences
Even from a young age in Alabama, Cox stood out as a gifted performer. She immersed herself in dance, song, and imaginative dress-up play. Cox embraced her identity as a girl, despite being designated male at birth. She faced bullying and discrimination growing up trans, even attempting suicide as a teen.
Still, her mother supported her, saying inspirational words Cox carries to this day: "You are loving. You are smart. You are beautiful. You are worthy of love, and you will find it one day. You will find someone who loves you for exactly who you are."
Launching an Impressive Acting Career
Laverne Cox is now widely recognized for her breakthrough role as Sophia Burset on Orange is the New Black. But her talents were building long before that.
After studying dance and acting in school, Cox paid her dues by performing in underground drag shows and working odd jobs. Small acting roles followed, until her charisma earned her a spot on the reality show I Want to Work for Diddy.
"I was ambivalent about doing reality TV, but it ended up being a really big break for me." – Laverne Cox
That exposure led to Cox landing her first major recurring TV role on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit in 2011. Next came the VH1 makeover show TRANSform Me, making Cox the first African-American transgender person to star in her own TV show.
Gaining Fame on Orange is the New Black
In 2013, Cox scored the role of a lifetime – Sophia Burset on Netflix‘s breakthrough series Orange is the New Black.
"Sophia is written as a fully formed human being who the audience happens to learn is transgender. That‘s revolutionary," she told Time.
Cox brought heart and humanity to the groundbreaking role. Her nuanced performance earned widespread praise. For the first time, a trans character was portrayed as so much more than just their gender identity.
In 2014, Cox made history as the first openly trans person nominated for a Primetime Emmy. Her work paved the way for more authentic trans representation on screen.
An Unwavering Voice for Justice
Beyond acting, Cox dedicates herself to advancing LGBTQ+ rights and equality. She‘s spoken at the White House, partnered with the ACLU, and produced documentaries shining light on trans stories.
Her advocacy is personal. She eloquently shares her own experiences to humanize transgender people – 80% of Americans said their views became more supportive after hearing Cox speak.
"Loving each other and supporting each other is what it’s all about." – Laverne Cox
In 2014, Cox graced the cover of Time magazine with the headline "The Transgender Tipping Point." She inquiries about trans issues skyrocketed, dubbed "The Laverne Cox Effect."
An Inspiring Icon
For her artistic talents, unwavering authenticity, and impact, Laverne Cox has become an admired icon.
She summons courage in those who feel marginalized. She champions finding one‘s voice. She embraces, includes and empowers. She inspires people everywhere to embrace their identities and follow their dreams.