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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. Laverne is the first trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted television show. Time Magazine named Sophia Burset the 4th most influential fictional character of 2013.

Laverne is also a recipient of the Dorian rising star award for her work in “Orange is the New Black.” A renowned speaker, Laverne has taken her empowering message of moving beyond gender expectations to live more authentically all over the country. Her insights have been featured on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NPR, HLN, VH1, FOX NEWS LATINO, among other national TV and radio networks.

In 2013 Laverne 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). Laverne’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.

Laverne 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. Laverne 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. Laverne 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.” Laverne’s critical writings have appeared in The Advocate and The Huffington Post. A graduate of Marymount Manhattan College, Laverne holds a degree in Fine Arts.