February 14, 2021
Laverne Cox is a trailblazing Actor and trans activist. But the one person she still has trouble winning over is the little girl inside herself. She talks about self-discovery and why she’ll never stop fighting
Laverne Cox: ‘I can be so hard on myself’
Laverne Cox knew she was different because everybody told her so. She was eight when a teacher called to warn her mother, “If you don’t get your son into therapy right away, he’s going to end up in New Orleans wearing a dress.” This was Alabama, 1980, and Cox was escaping bullies every day. At 11 she attempted suicide. The bullying continued when she moved to New York in her late teens – by day she’d get harassed in the street, but by night, on stage at Lucky Cheng’s drag bar, she was celebrated, a Queen. It was here that she began her transition, and it was only after wrapping season one of Orange is the New Black in 2013 (where she played Sophia Burset, a trans woman sent to prison for credit-card fraud, committed to fund her gender-reassignment surgery) that she finally quit the night Job and leaned into her new life – as the most famous trans actor in the world.
Today, Cox is applying hand cream in her hotel room in readiness for her first interview of the day. “OK!” She is used to this by now, to people wanting her to tell her story again, in her kind and clever way. In the years since she started acting she has become the first openly trans- gender person to be on the cover of Time magazine, the first to be nominated for a Emmy, the first to have a waxwork in Madame Tussauds and the first to appear on the cover of British Vogue – chosen, no less, by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. “So where should we start?” she asks, smiling with teeth.
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