July 30, 2013

It's hard to say which is rarer: meaty, star-making roles for trans actors or careers that cross over from reality TV to acting. Laverne Cox has both. She competed on VH1's I Want to Work for Diddy, developed/starred in that network's makeover show TRANSform Me, and now she steals scenes as Sophia on Netflix's phenomenal women's prison comedy-drama Orange is the New Black. In case you are behind, OITNB is so compulsively captivating that it feels less like a show and more like a life event: I didn't so much watch it as I felt it happening.

Last week, Laverne Cox--from the acclaimed Netflix series Orange Is the New Black--came to chat with Rich and to hang out--these are photos from our… Read…

There's no blueprint for Cox's life, no precedent for current or future success. And yet she is in the somewhat paradoxical position of representing the entire trans community in pop culture. She does this almost single-handedly given the dearth of trans stars. I talked to her about this, her insecurities, her role, and her dating life last week at the Gawker office (or more specifically, on the Gawker office's roof). Full disclosure: I've known Laverne for about five years and interviewed her several times when I worked at VH1. She is a friend. Fuller disclosure: I couldn't be prouder of her success.