Laverne Cox, 'Orange Is The New Black' Star, On The Necessity Of Diverse Female Characters

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 25:  Actress Laverne Cox attends 'Orange Is The New Black' New York Premiere at The New York Botanical Ga
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 25: Actress Laverne Cox attends 'Orange Is The New Black' New York Premiere at The New York Botanical Garden on June 25, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)

"Orange Is The New Black," Netflix's newest hit show, has been widely acclaimed for its dynamic representations of diverse and authentic characters. And few people are more excited by this arguably unparalleled diversity than the show's own cast.

One such cast member is Laverne Cox, who plays transgender prison inmate Sophia Burset. Cox, a trailblazing producer, actress and activist is no stranger to breaking barriers on TV as an African-American transgender woman. She is also no stranger to the difficulties transgender folks face -- in the media and beyond.

Cox views "Orange Is The New Black" as an exciting opportunity both as a woman in the entertainment industry and a member of a minority group. "We don’t see enough multidimensional portrayals of trans women and women in jail who are of different races, ages, body types," Cox told Salon on July 25th. "We don’t see enough multidimensional portrayals of women in general, that show the diversity of womanhood."

And Cox believes that the enthusiastic response of viewers to such interesting characters will encourage the historically exclusive entertainment industry to create more interesting roles for talented actors. She said in an August 7th NPR interview:

The industry historically doesn't think that we [trans people, women, black actors] are marketable, or they want to cast us in very limited ways. But I think that the wonderful lessons that "Orange Is the New Black" is teaching us is that it shows our industry -- the entertainment industry -- that you can cast women of different races, you can cast different ages and body types, and folks will tune in and be interested. And the public is craving that.

She also sees the depiction of different kinds of women on TV as an incredibly meaningful experience for those watching. She told The Frisky:

I think it’s important for trans folks specifically, but for anyone really who’s not really seeing their stories told on television to see their stories told up there and see people like them on TV. The wonderful thing about our show is that it provides a platform for a lot of different women who we don’t get to see and hear from a lot to be able to, you know, tell their stories through these characters.

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