Justice

Laverne Cox Embraces Her Body in Empowering Nude Photo Shoot

Laverne Cox has done it again. 

Although the "Orange Is the New Black" star -- and soon-to-be co-lead of CBS's pilot "Doubt" -- originally said "no" twice to Allure's nude photo shoot request, we're certainly thrilled that she changed her mind. Cox will be included in the magazine's annual nude-photography feature, and is the first transgender woman to pose for Allure since the tradition began in 2000. (The issue hits newsstands on April 28.)

Cox's words about her decision to pose nude for the magazine speak for themselves. 

"I'm a black transgender woman. I felt this could be really powerful for the communities that I represent," Cox said of her decision to proceed with the shoot, which was done by Canadian photographer Norman Jean Roy. "Black women are not often told that we're beautiful unless we align with certain standards. Trans women certainly are not told we're beautiful. Seeing a black transgender woman embracing and loving everything about her body might be inspiring for some folks." 

Amen. 

The actress later took to Instagram to thank the magazine and Roy for making her feel "so comfortable taking off my clothes for the camera," ending with the hashtags #TransIsBeautiful and #CelebrateYourBody.  

Laverne Cox

The behind-the-scenes video, which dropped on April 15, also shows what a body positive, inspiring woman Cox is. 

"My friends are like, 'you should be juicing, darling,' .... and I had mac-and-cheese last night," Cox admits to the interviewer. A historic moment for the trans community, she speaks powerfully about the importance of positive representations of transgender people, but she is equally on point in her message about loving your body. 

"Going through life, you try to cover and hide, but it doesn't really work," the 30-year-old said. "I honestly just want to make myself happy most," she concluded. "And if other people like it, then that's great. If they don't, then I'm still happy."

As a member of the community, I know I have moments where I'm proud of my body -- particularly after my top surgery -- but it's still rocky at times. Cox worries about her stomach "pooch," and I worry that I'm still too curvy for a man. Perhaps everyone is uncomfortable with some aspect of their physique -- trans or not. Hopefully we can all follow Cox's lead, and learn to celebrate our bodies and our identities so openly, honestly, and proudly. 

Appropriately, Cox was also named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People this week. Congratulations, Laverne. You deserve it.