Add this to the list of reasons why Laverne Cox will go down in the history books: She’s the first transgender actress ever to be nominated for an Emmy Award. Cox’s nomination was one of 17 earned by the cast of "Orange is the New Black," (OITNB) the Netflix original series that takes place inside of a women’s prison.
It’s been a whirlwind couple of years for Cox, who has risen to international stardom thanks to her role as Sophia on OITNB. In addition to her role on the show, Cox was also featured on the cover of Time magazine and anointed grand marshall of this year’s New York City Pride Parade. Matthew Breen wrote over at The Advocate about Cox’s rising cultural importance:
She’s not an activist or a policy wonk, and yet her experiences and upbringing have aligned with this moment in American culture so precisely that to think of the unique struggles of the trans community, and its successes despite longstanding institutional and cultural barriers, it’s no surprise she’s the first name on many lips. She’s never called herself a leader and even demurs from the term role model, preferring possibility modelinstead. But she’s here, and she’s talking, and we’re listening like we never have before.
In Cox we’re witnessing the anointing of an icon.
Cox was one of a handful of actors of color to earn Emmy nominations, along with her castmate Uzo Aduba, Kerry Washington, Don Cheadle, Cicely Tyson and Angela Bassett.