Actress in Focus: Laverne Cox

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Laverne Cox, most well-known for her role as Sophia Burset in the Netflix hit show Orange is the New Black, is an transgender actress, and LGBTQ+ activist. Her role in OITNB enabled her position to become the first openly transgender actress to be nominated for an acting Emmy in history. Also, she was named one of OUT magazine’s most influential LGBTQ+ people in 2013 – well-deserved, too, with all of her nominations, awards, and appearances, spanning across the years of her career.

Appearing in season 3 of Dear White People, the 2016 remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, CBS’ Doubt and in one episode of Law & Order: SVU, Cox should be praised for more than just her role as OITNB’s Sophia. Alongside her acting career, she’s also entered the production industry, having produced her own award-winning documentary, Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word. The hour-long documentary, co-produced by MTV and Logo, navigates the lives of various transgender individuals aged between 12 to 24 years old.

The T Word enabled Cox to executively produce two more documentaries: Free Cece! and Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen. The first is based around the culture of violence surrounding trans women of colour, starring Cox herself and CeCe McDonald. The latter comes out in June 2020, and stars Cox, Candis Cayne, Jamie Clayton, Michael D. Cohen, and many more. The documentary focuses its attention on Hollywood’s depiction of transgender people, and how their lives are impacted within American culture.

Outside of the television realm, she continues her influential presence. Cox’s face has appeared on Beyoncé’s clothing line Ivy Park, and she was the first transgender individual to appear on the front page of Time magazine (titled ‘The Transgender Tipping Point’), Cosmopolitan magazine and Essence magazine.

Her activism is also extremely noteworthy. On her Instagram, she promotes the hashtag #TransIsBeautiful, and she has delivered various different talks concerning the systematic discrimination against transgender people of colour. She also is well-known for her activism in the Supreme Court and advocating within the judicial system for LGBTQ+ (specifically transgender) rights.

Laverne Cox maintains her fame for being incredibly open about her experiences in the LGBTQ+ community, and having had central roles in acting, executively producing, and modelling. She is an influential face, with nominations and winnings over the course of her varied career. Cox’s presence in popular culture has enabled trans actors and individuals to become closer to the forefront of the centre in television and pushed their stories forward.

You can watch the promo for The T Word below.

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Live Editor 2019/20 & second year English student. Can usually be found procrastinating my degree at a gig, or trying (and failing) to complete my Goodreads challenge

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