• Laverne Cox at the 47th NAACP Awards (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Need some pre-Mardi Gras inspiration? Take a page from the book of transgender rights advocate and outspoken voice in the #BlackLivesMatter movement, actress Laverne Cox. And don't miss 'Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word' on NITV March 1!
Jerico Mandybur

26 Feb 2016 - 1:24 PM  UPDATED 2 Mar 2016 - 11:26 AM

Star of prison drama Orange Is The New Black and activist, Laverne Cox is one of America’s most influential figures in civil rights and transgender rights movement. She's fronted TIME magazine and won countless awards for both acting and advocacy. But what is it about Laverne that makes her loved by thousands around the world? And what can we mere mortals learn from her? Let’s count the ways.

Think 'intersectional'

A believer in the intersectional nature of oppression, Laverne Cox works to overturn injustice wherever she finds it. As a transwoman of colour, Laverne speaks about the tragic rates of suicide among transpeople of colour - one of the highest in the US. A similar story exists in Australia, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trans-peoples are at the greatest risk of suicide, according to Beyond Blue.

When not acting, Cox has dedicated her life to turning these statistics around.

Speak your truth 

A thoughtful speaker who shares her opinion without hesitation, Laverne is all about inspiring others to do the same. When we tell our stories, we create connections with other people. The actress is a great example of a woman who’s not afraid to tell her own story with a voice that’s loud and proud. She has touched people’s lives as a result – something for us all to aspire to.

Accept yourself 

Like her character on OITNB Sophia Burset, Laverne has learnt to love and accept herself as a strong transwoman after a lifetime of struggle. Attempting suicide at 11 years old, she moved from Alabama to New York City to study acting, working as a drag queen until finally finding fame on the hit Netflix series. Laverne now encourages self-love through her writing, speaking and advocacy.

Embrace your toughness 

Laverne Cox is a survivor through and through. At 31 years old, she has overcome discrimination because of her race and gender identity. Never hiding from the spotlight, she calls out ignorance and shouts out fellow heroes of the trans community wherever she can. She represents strength in the face of adversity and reminds us all that everyone can and should be free to live a life of dignity and pride.

Be fabulous 

With a love of fashion and a wicked sense of humour, the actress is a great role model for anyone looking for a burst of self-confidence. She wears what she wants, dances to Beyoncé songs in public and when she smiles, her whole face lights up. If you’re looking for a bit of pre-Mardi Gras inspiration, just look up clips of Laverne Cox on YouTube and you’re sorted. <3

Need more Laverne? Watch this interview to see her expertly school talk-show host Wendy Williams on asking rude questions about her body.



Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word
- A documentary following the lives of 7 transgender youths in America
Premiering on NITV March 1 @ 9:30pm or watch it on SBS On Demand now

- A documentary following photographer Bindi Cole's time with the Sistergirl community of the Tiwi Islands
Premiering on NITV March 3 @ 9:30pm