June 11, 2015
The Laverne Cox Wall
by KELSEY HAMM
What do you get when you mix a fierce Gemini, a television superstar, and a dedicated trans activist? I’ll give you a hint—the answer starts with Laverne and ends with Cox. This dual actress and role-model not only stars in one of the most diversified hit shows of our time, (psstt: Orange is the New Black Season 3 premiers on June 12) she also graced the cover of Time magazine and was the first transgender person to be nominated for the acting Primetime Emmy Award in 2014.
Laverne Cox is an Icon with a capital I. Of course she is—but what does that even mean? What makes an icon? Is it charm? Oozing pools of talent and relatability? In a way, all celebrities are icons. They are shining beacons of hope for the rest of us who struggle in our own career paths, the glamourous people we watch on television when we return from our 9 to 5 jobs that constantly remind us we haven’t made it yet.
When it comes to icons, few celebrities achieve what I personally call “household espionage” status, or the almost unfathomable star power that accompanies being a common name to the public beyond a general intended audience. “Household espionage” status is, without a doubt, the most difficult level of stardom to achieve.
Cox is a role model for transgender persons everywhere. Her memoir—that is yet to be named—will be published by Harlequin publishing company next year, and she’s currently hosting the #Gobold online video series concerning self-identity with Revlon. Each episode stars guest icons like herself, revealing details of success and personal happiness through games and interviews. Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles and fashion designer Patricia Field are counted among Cox’s treasured guests and influences.
There is something undeniably genius about the way Cox’s media presence is built. She is a “household espionage” icon, known not only to the Netflix generation but probably by every transphobic relative you’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing at your family reunions.
Yet the women who dared to twirl in a custom-made Donna Karan red dress at this year’s New York Fashion Week has rarely been hailed with the fashion slaying credit she deserves. While her style is definitely more professional than street or experimental, this poised Gemini is a formal inspiration for the rest of us who watch her in intimidation from our living rooms. She is, after all, one of the only women I know who can rock leopard print when not in solid colors. I’ll excuse it, but just this once— and only because I’m a tad bit envious.
In the creative spirit of the Gemini, Cox told InStyle magazine last October that she follows her self-created acronym “FFPS” when choosing her clothes, or "fit, fabric, proportion, and silhouette." Here are her greatest looks from the last two years, all in fierce and badass style.