Laverne Cox is set to make a name for herself in the history books as the first transgender star to grace the cover of British Vogue.
The trailblazing star is one of 15 women being honoured in the September 2019 issue dubbed “Forces for change”, which was guest-edited by the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.
These women were handpicked by Meghan Markle and British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful for being “barrier breakers who remain convinced that the world can be remade only if we harness our collective power… changemakers who are set to re-shape society in myriad radical and positive ways.” The women include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jane Fonda, Salma Hayek, Jameela Jamil, and Yara Shahidi.
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Laverne Cox is an American actress who rose to prominence with her role as Sophia Burset on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. Her performance in the series made her the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in any acting category.
Born to a single mother and a Christian grandmother, Cox has an identical twin brother, M. Lamar, who portrayed the pre-transitioning Sophia (as Marcus) in Orange Is the New Black.
She is said to have attempted suicide at the age of 11 because she had developed feelings for her male classmates and was being bullied for not acting the ‘’proper’’ way an individual assigned male at birth should.
In her 20s, she started her medical transition into womanhood and shortly after, booked the role on the Orange Is the New Black series.
She is a graduate of the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham, Alabama, where she studied creative writing before switching to dance. She then studied at Indiana University Bloomington and then transferred to Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, where she switched from studying classical ballet to studying acting.
In 2015, she won a Daytime Emmy Award in Outstanding Special Class Special as executive producer for Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word, making her the first openly transgender woman to win the award. In 2017, she became the first transgender person to play a transgender series regular on broadcast TV as Cameron Wirth on CBS’s Doubt.
Cox is regarded as one of the most notable figures in LGBTQ+ activism, a trailblazer for the transgender community, and has won numerous awards for her activist approach in spreading awareness.
Her influence and presence in the spotlight have started conversations about transgender culture and transgender women. She is the first openly transgender person to be on the cover of Time magazine, be nominated for a Primetime Emmy, and have a waxwork in Madame Tussauds, as well as, the first openly transgender woman to win a Daytime Emmy as an Executive Producer.
In May 2016, Cox was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from The New School in New York City for her progressive work in the fight for gender equality.