Orange Is the New Black fans might think we know every detail of Laverne Cox‘s makeup-free face. She did her finest acting that way for most of season 4, when her character Sophia was locked up in solitary. Then again, that’s not really the same thing as when the actress herself decides to take a photo that truly celebrates what she looks like with bare skin, as she did on Thursday evening.
“I took this #selfie for me without any intention of sharing it but why not,” she said of a photo she posted on Instagram and Facebook, including the hashtags, #selflove and #selfcompassion.
She has shared makeup-free selfies before. Last August, she showed off her natural hair pulled into a ponytail and wrote, “As an actress and a woman I love being able to transform, to switch up my look when I want to with wigs, weaves and bundles a plenty. I love this too. It’s about choices and options.”
As an activist and the originator of the #Transisbeautiful hashtag, Cox has made a point of celebrating her natural features. “Years ago, I wanted really highly invasive surgical procedures to feminize my face,” she told The Guardian in 2015. “All these years later, I have the money to do it, but I don’t want it. I don’t want it! I’m happy that this is the face that God gave me, and it’s imperfect.”
Cox also co-starred in the CBS law drama Doubt that was cancelled after two episodes in February. With Netflix firing up the OITNB hype for season 5, which premieres on June 9, it makes sense that Cox is taking a few social media minutes to focus on treating herself well, too.
“Letting go of negative self talk is crucial,” she wrote on Wednesday, next to a much different, fully made-up photo of herself. “Saying affirming, loving things to myself about myself, I gently begin the process of changing the internalized shame tapes that want to keep me small. Remembering that I am a child of God who needs love and nurturing I can begin to give that to myself and hopefully attract more of that love and nurturing into my life from others.”
In just a matter of minutes, her makeup-free photo inspired one fan to open up about her own struggle.
“My idol. wish you can guide me through my transition. It’s starting to affect my mental health,” wrote Nicole Vanity on Facebook. Others then replied to Nicole, forming a mini support group for her online. “Nicole Vanity, feel free to reach out to me if you ever need advice or support,” Danielle Huber replied. “I get where you’re coming from, and I’m here if you need me. Stay strong girl!”
It looks like Cox’s “why not” selfie has a purpose.
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