Laverne Cox says she’s happy she decided to use her fame as a platform to advocate for the transgender community, but admits the role can be “overwhelming.”
The 34-year-old Orange Is the New Black star said she chose to use interviews as an opportunity to talk about the issues important to her and challenge what she dubbed “problematic questions.”
“I’m an actress, yes, but I’m also a trans person who’s been consuming media culture my entire life and is really interested in telling trans stories in a different way,” she said. “And I have a lot to say about that, and I’ve chosen to speak out about those things.”
Cox noted the lack of other mainstream trans actresses and celebrities with her audience, so she felt the need to create a “space for herself.”
“The conversation needed to happen in a different way if I was going have space for myself that was humanized and hopefully had some sense of dignity and self respect,” she told Cohen.
Despite increases in diversity in the media in recent years, Cox said “trans folks are still experiencing crazy discrimination.”[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/226444366" params="visual=true&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]
The actress also spoke about her decision to participate in the first season of 2008 reality show I Want to Work for Diddy, which she described as Sean “P. Diddy” Combs‘ “version of Donald Trump‘s apprentice.”
“I wanted the air time, let’s keep it real,” she told Cohen.
Although she was initially disinterested in the show, Cox said she realized the opportunity it could bring after being assaulted on the streets of New York City.
“I thought it might be really powerful for the black community to see a hip-hop mogul potentially hire a trans woman on national television,” she said.
Although she’s happy with the exposure that came from the competition, she said the most important takeaway was understanding her career was bigger than just her.[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/226443064" params="visual=true&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]
Deep & Shallow with Andy Cohen, an interview series, airs weekdays at 7 a.m. ET on SiriusXM’s Radio Andy (channel 102).