You probably know who Laverne Cox is, even if you don’t watch Netflix’s fantastic Orange Is The New Black (although you really really should), as she is one of the most high profile transgender people in the entertainment industry.
Apparently, she is tired to being referred to as a “role model”, and instead prefers the term “possibility model”. When speaking with the Radio Times, Laverne said: “I hate the term ‘role model’. It’s presumptuous to think that anyone should model their life after you, but I do like the term possibility model. Even in good lighting I’m an obviously transgender person. I have a deep voice, I have broad shoulders, I have big hands, I have big feet. I don’t think any of those things make me less of a woman. I’ve been very blessed. A lot of people have told me that I’m gorgeous and I love hearing that; I’m not going to lie.”
“But I would like to think that I’m compelling not just because of the way I look. That I have something intelligent, smart, insightful, even moving to say. That I’m talented as an actress and that there’s something about the content of my character that is beautiful, beyond how I look. I’d like to think that.”
Essentially, Laverne doesn’t want people to just focus on her looks (although that there is no denying that she is stunning), and focus more on her talent. That is something we need to do with every person – focus on their inner talents and skills rather than focusing on the superficial. Apparently, Laverne’s dreams of fame when she was younger helped her keep going, when she was still dealing with her gender identity.
“The gender thing was just something that I was really defiant with as a kid. I knew I wasn’t like everybody else and I needed to assert that. My hopes and dreams are what kept me going as a kid. I would say, ‘I’m going to be rich and famous and show you all.’ It was kind of a childish thing to say, and now as an adult I’m not quite rich, but things have turned out pretty well so far.”
And Laverne has very much achieved her dream, and has been using her high profile status to raise awareness about transgender issues, and also revealed that her brother (who plays her OITNB character, Sophia, pre transition) actively encouraged her to do just that.
“I asked my brother if I should be political as an actress, he said, ‘What’s the point of being famous if you can’t use it for something that matters?’ That’s the approach I’ve tried to take with it. I’ve been wanting to be a superhero for a very long time.”