Presidential Lecture Series

Laverne Cox

Recognition Year: 
2014-15

Emmy-nominated actress, television producer, transgender advocate

December 2, 2014
7 p.m.
Wright State Nutter Center

Co-sponsored with WSU Allies

Laverne Cox is a critically acclaimed actress who currently appears in the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black, playing the groundbreaking role of Sophia Burset, an incarcerated African American transgender woman. She is the first trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show and was the first trans actress to be nominated for an Emmy award, for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.

She is a recipient of the Dorian Rising Star Award. Time magazine listed Sophia Burset No. 4 on its most influential fictional characters of 2013.

In addition to her critically acclaimed work as an actress, Cox is in demand as a speaker, encouraging others to move beyond gender expectations and live more authentically. Her insights have been featured on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NPR, HLN, VH1, Fox News Latino, and other national TV and radio networks.

In 2013, she won Best Supporting Actress at the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival for her work in the praised film Musical Chairs, directed by Susan Seidelman (Desperately Seeking Susan). Cox’s other acting credits include Law and Order, Law and Order: SVU, HBO’s Bored to Death, and the independent films Carla and The Exhibitionists. She also has roles in the forthcoming films 36 Saints and Grand Street.

Cox is the first trans woman of color to produce and star in her own television show, VH1’s TRANSForm Me, which was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award. She is also the first trans woman of color to appear on an American reality television program, VH1’s I Wanna Work for Diddy, for which she accepted the GLAAD Award for Outstanding Reality Program. Cox was named one of Out magazine’s “Out 100,” one of the country’s top 50 trans icons by The Huffington Post, and one of Metro Source magazine’s “55 People We Love.” Her critical writings have appeared in The Advocate and The Huffington Post. A graduate of Marymount Manhattan College, Cox holds a degree in fine arts.