Honestly, we think that the words ‘hero’ and ‘icon’ are tossed around a little too much lately, but however you slice it, Laverne Cox is both. Not only is she a phenomenally talented Emmy-nominated actress, she’s a producer, speaker and a tireless advocate for LGBT rights. In every sense of the word, she is a trailblazer: she was the first transgender woman of color to appear on reality tv, the first trans woman of color to produce her own tv show, and the first trans woman of color to have a starring role in a scripted tv show. We love her as Sophia on Orange is the New Black (and yes, we’ve already binge-watched all of season 3), but what we really love is the inspiring way that she talks about gender and authenticity, and the way she has committed herself to using her fame for good. The world is finally giving Laverne (and trans issues in general) the spotlight so richly deserved, and we say it’s about damn time.
So naturally, Laverne Cox is our Woman Crush Wednesday. Let’s look back at all the times that she was completely flawless.
Honestly, we think that the words 'hero' and 'icon' are tossed around a little too much lately, but however you slice it, Laverne Cox is both. Not only is she a phenomenally talented Emmy-nominated actress, she's a producer, speaker and a tireless advocate for LGBT rights. In every sense of the word, she is a trailblazer: she was the first transgender woman of color to appear on reality tv, the first trans woman of color to produce her own tv show, and the first trans woman of color to have a starring role in a scripted tv show. We love her as Sophia on Orange is the New Black (and yes, we've already binge-watched all of season 3), but what we really love is the inspiring way that she talks about gender and authenticity, and the way she has committed herself to using her fame for good. The world is finally giving Laverne (and trans issues in general) the spotlight so richly deserved, and we say it's about damn time.
So naturally, Laverne Cox is our Woman Crush Wednesday. Let's look back at all the times that she was completely flawless.
At the GLAAD Media Awards, 2009.
With big hair and an even bigger smile, we can see that Laverne has basically always had her beauty game on point.
At the GLAAD Media Awards, 2011.
"We are in a place now where more and more trans people want to come forward and say: 'This is who I am.'"
Jason Kempin/Getty Images
At the GLAAD Media Awards, 2013.
This is how bright red lips should be done. Everybody bow down.
Larry Busacca/Getty Images for GLAAD
At the ELLE Women in Television Celebration, 2014.
By early 2014, Laverne had truly blown up, and deservedly so: her portrayal of Sophia on Orange is the New Black is one of the best performances of all time. But more importantly, her increased profile gave her a platform to talk about issues facing trans people, especially trans women of color. So while we want to give her props for her flawless use of black liquid liner here, we also really want to give her props for working so tirelessly to change lives.
Angela Weiss/Getty Images
At the GLAAD Media Awards, 2014.
"The preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people. And then we don't get to really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people's lives is that so often we are targets of violence. We experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the community. Our unemployment rate is twice the national average; if you are a trans person of color, that rate is four times the national average. The homicide rate is highest among trans women. If we focus on transition, we don't actually get to talk about those things."
Jason Merritt/Getty Images for GLAAD
At the AmFAR Inspiration Gala, 2014.
As we've observed before, it takes a brave woman to coordinate her eye makeup with her gown, but Laverne is nothing if not totally supreme. Matching navy liner with a navy dress is a perfect way to embrace this look without going totally overboard.
As the Grand Marshal of the Gay Pride March in NYC, 2014.
“A lot of my life has been about me charting my own space for myself, creating a space for myself to survive. Now I’m trying to reframe my experiences. I’m not just in survival mode anymore. I’m in a space where I can thrive.”
D Dipasupil/Getty Images
At the OITNB season 2 premiere in Mexico, 2014.
By the second season of Orange is the New Black, Laverne was a serious megastar—and her look reflected that. While still playful and gorgeous, with glowing skin and dark eye makeup, her beauty game had been stepped up a notch: her contour was more refined, her brows were slightly thicker and her hair was way more glamorous. Truly the look of an A-lister.
At the Television Academy Performers Nominee Reception For The 66th Emmy Awards, 2014.
This was a big awards season of Laverne: she was the first trans person to be nominated for a primetime Emmy. And did she phone in a single appearance? Hell no; she killed it at every. Single. Event that led up to that awards show. This sideswept hair held back with a diamond clip, peachy-pink lips, subtle cat-eye and delicate blush is maybe one of her best looks to date. Slaying for the Gods, as Laverne would say.
At the MTV VMAs, 2014.
“I would never be so arrogant to think that someone should model their life after me. But the idea of possibility… the idea that I get to live my dreams out in public, hopefully will show to other folks that it’s possible. So I prefer the term ‘possibility model’ to ‘role model.’”
At the Emmys, 2014.
This is an amazing beauty look. Dig the totally immaculate white, brown and black smoky eyes paired with the nude lips and insanely elegant hair. Laverne may not have won her Emmy in 2014, but she sure as hell looked like a winner to us.
At the Emmys, 2014.
And here's a look at her hair, because this rolled up style is legitimately perfect.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Variety
At the Glamour Women of the Year Awards, 2014.
On her tumblr, Laverne wrote "It is my dream that by highlighting the deep humanity of trans people’s lives in the media, elevating actual trans voices to speak the truth of our lived experiences in ways that don’t sensationalize and objectify us, those human voices and stories can be a part of the disruption needed to end the disproportionate injustices that threaten so many trans people’s lives, particularly the lives of trans women of color."
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Glamour
At the SAG Awards, 2015.
BRAID GAME TOO STRONG *hearts for eyes emoji*
At the NAACP Image Awards, 2015.
Just when you thought she couldn't get any more perfect, Laverne goes and serves up this flawless bob.
At the Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection, 2015.
Look at these Rapunzel-length locks, flawlessly matched crimson lips and gown, and pearly nails and tell me that she isn't the most luminous woman you've ever seen. EXACTLY.
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Go Red
At the New Yorker's White House Correspondents' Dinner Weekend Pre-Party, 2015.
Cranberry lips and sideswept long bangs worn with lots of volume at the crown makes for a totally perfect party look. Honorable mentions to that adorable mini cateye, too.
Leah Puttkammer/Getty Images
At the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, 2015.
Laverne went gentle on the eye makeup to draw attention to her spiky false lashes and shoulder-skimming long bob.
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
At the Global Women's Rights Awards, 2015.
Messy fishtail braid alert!
At the SiriusXM studios, 2015.
These may be our favorite Laverne bangs yet: full, slightly choppy and swept to one side. Also, we need to talk about her cheekbones; she could cut people with those things. Amazing.
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
At the amfAR Inspiration Gala New York after party, 2015.
"We are not what other people say we are. We are who we know ourselves to be, and we are what we love." And we love you, Laverne. Thank you for inspiring so many people with your wisdom and courage, for constantly being a voice for those that society often overlooks, and for making the world a better place.
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images