02 Aug LAVERNE COX IS BRITISH VOGUE’S FIRST TRANS COVER STAR
Trans star and actress from the popular show Orange Is The New Black, Laverne Cox is one of the fifteen “Forces of Change” on the cover of British Vogue’s September issue.
Cox is one of the most visible trans people in the world. “There’s a tremendous amount of pressure,” she later admits, of navigating icon status. “I have done it very imperfectly.” She credits Candis Cayne – who came to prominence in 2007 for playing transgender mistress Carmelita on ABC’s Dirty Sexy Money – with inspiring her to become one of the most recognised trans faces on television: since 2013, Cox has starred in the Netflix show Orange Is The New Black as Sophia Burset, a trans firefighter. “Candis in 2007 becoming the first openly transgender person to have a recurring role on a primetime television show – that moment made me believe it was possible to be openly trans, and an actor. I would not be here if it weren’t for her,” she says.
How does it feel to be the first trans person on the cover of British Vogue? A tear runs down Cox’s flawlessly made up face. “Oh wow. This is an emotional day for me,” she says. “I remember when Sidney Poitier talked about winning an Oscar in the 1960s and he said, ‘I’ll feel like there’s progress when I’m not the only one.’”
She pauses, taking a deep breath. “I have had a lot of firsts in my career, but I am not the first trans person on the cover of Vogue – that honour goes to Valentina Sampaio on the cover of French Vogue [in March 2017], and Indya Moore on the cover of Teen Vogue [in March 2019]. That’s absolutely beautiful – that I am not the first. I love that history. I love following in the footsteps of folks like that.”
The September issue of British Vogue co-edited by HRH The Duchess of Sussex is available for digital download on newsstands on from today Friday, 2nd August.