Laverne Cox has scored, big time! The open and proud transgender actress and model is on the February cover of Cosmopolitan South Africa!
This is the first time a transgender model has made it big!
“I am so honored and proud to cover the February issue of @cosmopolitansa,” Cox boasted on Instagram and Twitter.
The proud Orange is the New Black star also paid homage to one of her biggest idols, the model, actress and singer, Beverly Johnson.
“42 years ago this month @iambeverlyjohnson became the first black woman to appear on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine,” Cox wrote.
Thrilled about her cover, the transgender model gave shoutouts and empowered her fellow transgender models and influencers from Cosmo cover shoots.
“Thanks Ms. Johnson for paving the way for all of the black women who have followed you over the years on Cosmo covers,” she wrote.
She further added, “Thanks to trans models like @leat @andrejapejic @harinef @valentts @geenarocero @therealtraceyafrica and more who are changing beauty standards and breaking barriers for trans folks on the covers of fashion magazines all over the world.”
Cox, 31, has already posed tall and proud for Time magazine’s cover in 2014. She was also the first transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy award the same year.
Her critically acclaimed performance on Netflix’s OITNB has been lauded and applauded. She plays Sophie Burset, a transgender prison hairdresser, who gets into rough situations because of her trans identity.
The show is not too far from reality, however.
Cox spoke at Forbes’ fourth annual Women’s Summit, where hundreds of women gather to find solutions and change the nature of the entrepreneurial and business world.
“As a black trans person I have to work twice as hard, sometimes three or four times as hard as anybody else,” she said.
“I’ve never felt angry, I’ve just accepted that I have to work harder,” she added.
Cox also spoke up about her struggle growing up in Mobile, Alabama. She grew up with a single mom who would work multiple jobs but made sure her daughter was able to follow her passions. Cox loved to dance and take part in theater as well.
She was also assigned the male gender at birth.
“My gender was policed a lot, I was told not to act in ways that felt authentic to me,” she recalled.
“I grew up ambitious but filled with shame.”
She was also bullied as a small child and the aggressive incidents took their toll. At age 11, Cox tried to attempt suicide with pills that she stole from her mother’s medicine cabinet.
Eventually, she moved to New York, hoping to make it big in the big apple. She continued giving auditions and taking classes while performing in off-Broadway theater and student films.
OITNB was her big break. It premiered in 2013 and Cox was at its heart and center!
Now, she uses her platforms to provoke thoughtful conversation about what it means to be openly transgender and a WOC (Woman of Color) in mainstream America.