Laverne Cox: 'I'm a Trans Woman, but I'm Still Black'

The OITNB star on social media haters and Time backlash.

Posted: 07/09/2014 12:15 PM EDT

In just 18 months, Laverne Cox went from struggling actress to cultural phenomenon. The Mobile, Alabama, native, who is best known for her role as Sophia Burset on the hit Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, has become the face of the transgender movement in America.

Now, for the first time, Cox opens up about the downside of her skyrocketing fame — from Internet haters to backlash over her Time magazine cover. "I never thought my Twitter or Instagram feeds would become a place of so much negativity," she shares in our exclusive interview, referring to the increasing vitriol from commenters.

But Cox, despite the ups and downs of life in the limelight, is grateful to have a job she loves playing incarcerated hairdresser Burset on the groundbreaking series. "I learn so much from these women," she says of her co-stars. "When I'm watching them work, I take notes."

When asked why BET.com readers should tune in to Orange Is the New Black, Cox responded, "BET is all about Black entertainment, and this show has a lot of talented Black actors. I'm a trans woman, but I'm still Black. There are a lot of important Black stories told on our show." Outside of OITNB, Cox will guest star in Bravo's first original scripted series Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce.

Check out our full interview with Laverne Cox and her OITNB co-star Selenis Leyva below, and click here for even more insight on season two from Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Samira Wiley and the rest of the stars of the series.

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(Photo: BET)

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