Laverne Cox is having the best year ever!
The Orange Is the New Black actress is being with a Glamour Woman of the Year award — an award that honors celebrities, politicians, local leaders and athletes for their powerful roles in influencing women everywhere.
Cox, 30, has already made history this year. Her portrayal of Sophia Burset on Orange is the New Black made her the first transgender woman to ever be nominated for an Emmy, and she was also the first transgender woman to ever make the cover of Time.
Before landing the role of Sophia, she tells Glamour, “I played hookers a lot. That was the scope of what was available for trans actors. When I got the [OITNB] script, I was like, OK, this is what I’ve waited for my whole career–I need to kill it.”
While is she is clearly thriving now, she opened up about the process of deciding to transition, “I had a nervous breakdown. My career was going nowhere; I shaved off my Beyonce-circa-Destiny’s Child long hair, bought boys’ clothes, and tried to be ‘normal.’ I was so unhappy and thought, I either have to transition or I have to kill myself.”
Sharing her experience has help other people understand the transgender community. “We have this internal compass of the truth inside of us,” she says of becoming an advocate. “And this is our job, really, to quiet all this noise around us and listen to that.”