Transgender star Laverne Cox has opened up about how she once used makeup as a tool to help her deal with the abuse and harassment that she faced each and every day – while sharing how she finally found the strength to leave her house bare-faced.
The 47-year-old actress, who shot to fame after starring in Orange Is The New Black, said there was once a time when she didn’t feel safe going out in public without makeup on, however as she has grown and become more confident, she has learned to embrace and celebrate her natural looks.
I needed to put on my face to get ready to be harassed on the street, to deal with the world
Laverne explained to Refinery 29.
I always needed makeup to feel safe. When you are a trans woman and you walk down the street and get called a man, it can be a mind f**k. I felt like a failure — like people weren’t seeing my womanhood.
There were different pivotal moments for Laverne when she was learning to embrace her gender identity.
One of them was when she attended a pageant in West Village, New York City, in the ’90s looking ‘fully femme’, and another one was when she changed her hair to blonde.
‘Going blonde for the first time in the late ’90s was a pivotal moment for me,’ she says.
‘It was a Beyoncé in Destiny’s Child-type of look. The beast was unleashed.’
Stunning: Laverne, who has become a leader within the LGBTQ community, learned to embrace her natural features without makeup.
As she aged and grew more comfortable with herself, Laverne learned the importance of embracing her beauty both with and without makeup.
‘On a day-to-day basis, I always want the makeup to be about celebrating what I look like,’ she told the publication.
‘I’ve gone on dates with no makeup on. I’ve gone to auditions. I never would have done that a few years ago. I’ve evolved how I feel about myself through my transition.’
Laverne earned her most well-known role on Orange is the New Black as Sophia Burset by auditioning with only powder on her face, which she previously would’ve avoided before accepting herself bare-faced.
And she ultimately snagged the coveted role.
This led Laverne to becoming the first transgender person to receive a Primetime Emmy nomination for her performance. Laverne also became the first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of Cosmopolitan and to receive a wax figure in Madame Tussauds.
Gaining confidence in her identity as a transgender woman has only helped Laverne garner more appreciation for her identity.
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‘What I know now is that if someone can look at me and realize that I’m trans, then that’s a beautiful thing, because trans is beautiful,’ Laverne said. ‘Transition is about making your outsides and insides match.’
Recently, Laverne has put on a brave face to the public when attending multiple events in New York City, such as WorldPride NYC, after announcing she and her boyfriend of two years split at the end of June.