11 Things You Didn’t Know About Laverne Cox that Have Nothing to Do With Her Being Transgender

Who's the woman behind the LGBTQ movement?

Laverne Cox has become the face of the American transgender movement ever since her Orange Is the New Black character Sophia was first introduced to the world in 2013. We commend this Slay Queen and her bravery, and love everything that she stands for, but for the most part, we’ve only heard her speak to LGBTQ issues in interviews and magazines. We need more Laverne, but want to know: who is she actually? We’re here to shed some light on the woman behind the movement.

  1. Laverne was actually her middle name growing up

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    Although she doesn’t want to reveal her first name pre-tranisition, she says her last name was always Cox.

  2. She was on VH1’s I Wanna Work for Diddy

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    Did you forget?? This made her the first African American trans woman to be on an American reality TV show.

  3. Her identical twin brother is a musician

    M Lamar actually played Marcus (pre-transition Sophia) on OITNB because show runners didn’t think Laverne “looked butch enough.” They’re identical twins, but if you want to get technical, she’s actually seven minutes older. Laverne says he identifies as “[a] free black man, negro goth, punk-rock.” The two were close from the get-go, after being raised by their hardworking mom (who would sometimes have multiple jobs at once).

  4. She attempted suicide in sixth grade

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    She says after being bullied in school, she “took a bottle of pills hoping not to wake up and [she] did.” Luckily, we still have her around to tell the story of her struggles and triumph.

  5. She lives in a 315 square foot apartment in NYC

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    And if she doesn’t still, she did recently. Last summer, Laverne told Seth Meyers the story of how she found out about her Emmy nomination, which included her “jumping up and down” in her NYC pad. Even pop culture icons have apartment struggles.

  6. She’s “dated a lot of Jewish men”

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    Laverne isn’t Jewish, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t dabbled in some Jewish lovin’. Last summer, she told Wendy Williams a little bit about her love life, and most importantly said: “I know I deserve to be loved.”

  7. She kept her part-time restaurant job even after OITNB was shot

    Before she knew how massive of a hit OITNB would be, Laverne wasn’t taking any chances. She said she worked at the restaurant Lucky Changs in NYC and kept her job just in case. Before her big break, she also waited tables at NYC’s Coffee Shop, a diner in Union Square.

  8. She was obsessed with dancing

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    In fact, she originally studied dancing at Indiana University, before switching to acting at Marymount Manhattan College, and says she “danced everywhere” as a kid.

  9. She came out as gay in college at Indiana University

    Which she describes as one of the first steps in her major revelation.

  10. Her favorite OITNB scene is the bobblehead scene

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    At least it was back during season 1, when Laverne said the scene was the one “that says the most about Sophia… a really badass chick.”

  11. She reluctantly joined a beauty pageant back in the day

    While living in NYC, Laverne said she “uncharacteristically” entered in a beauty pageant at the Pyramid Club in NYC’s East Village. “I’m not a beauty pageant girl at all, obviously,” she said. “I don’t know why I said yes. It was the first time I’d gone full femme. It was very freeing and very wild — very Miss Congeniality. This beauty pageant that I had pooh-poohed really gave me space to just let go.” Little did she know…

Pizza is bae. And yes, I still say bae.
@taylorferber