“Obviously I’m a glamour girl. I love a full face of makeup,” Laverne Cox tells Yahoo Style’s Joe Zee in this episode of Style Sessions. “But there was a point, early in my transition, where I did not leave the house without makeup. It was my armor in the beginning.”
But the actress, who’s known for her role as Sophia Burset in Orange Is the New Black, is quick to admit that the hours-long process is no longer a part of her daily routine. “It’s just too much work!” she says, laughing.
Instead, Cox is focusing her energy on her role at the forefront of the LGBTQ activism movement, using fashion and style to break boundaries. At 31 years young, she’s proving there’s no single definition for beauty or right way of self-expression.
“I feel like I’ve been a chameleon lately. I want to keep on pushing and trying new things,” she says. “I want to keep taking risks and moving out of my comfort zone in terms of fashion. But I like to feel sexy and smart and chic.”
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You may be surprised to learn that “there’s a super-casual Laverne”—one who runs errands barefaced and lounges in jean shorts and sweats. Or that the transgender activist has no tattoos, broke into the biz as a contestant on MTV’s I Want to Work for Diddy, and studied opera for years. And while she reveals that her OITNB co-star Uzo Aduba (who really is a trained opera singer) rarely breaks out in song, she and her cast of BFFs play Beyoncé, Ciara, and Rihanna behind the scenes at Litchfield Penitentiary.
Of course, there’s a time and place for everything. “Our show isn’t just all fun and games. There’s some really serious stuff in my character,” Cox says. “This last season I experienced some really intense stuff. So on those days I’m not jumping around and singing and dancing.”