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Laverne Cox Was Planning To Quit Acting Until 'Orange Is The New Black' Came Along

Laverne Cox Was Planning To Quit Acting Until 'Orange Is The New Black' Came Along

Laverne Cox is opening up about how she almost quit show business.

During a virtual appearance at Paley Center’s Pride Month programming, “A Salute to LGBTQ+ Pride Achievements in Television”, the 49-year-old actor revealed that landing her role in Orange is the New Black changed the plan.

“In the fall of 2012 we started shooting this show and I was just so happy to have a job; I was in rent arrears on my apartment, I had rolled back rent and I was in all kinds of debt and I was going to give up acting actually, a few months before I booked Orange,” Laverne reminisced. “I had turned 40 that year and had a breakout moment and I was in debt and things weren’t going the way I hoped they would.”

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She went on, saying that she was “devastated by turning 40 and my life was kind of in shambles, like, financially, and I had worked and trained a lot and my dream of being a working actress had not come to fruition.”

“I was just like, ‘I’ve got to do something else. Who do I think I am? I’m a Black trans woman — no one’s ever done this before, let me go and do something, have a real job or something,’” Laverne said.

Her plan was to go to grad school.

“So I was going to go to grad school. I was studying for the GRE and then the audition for Orange happened and I didn’t go to grad school — Orange turned out to be my grad school,” she says. “It changed everything.”

Laverne continued, “I have a career now that I always dreamed about because of that show, and what’s really beautiful about ‘Orange’ is, I had writing and storylines that I had dreamed about.”

“When you’re in acting school and you’re training, and you get, you know, five lines on Law & Order or you’re playing sex worker No. 6 on an HBO show — I played a sex worker seven different times — finally I had this storyline that was multidimensional with this character that was complicated and beautifully flawed and it was just exciting to be doing the work.”

Laverne adds that her role on the series opened up an opportunity for other trans actors.

“There was a space opened up,” she shared. “There’s been a shift and that is exciting. I’m no longer the only trans person to be nominated for an acting Emmy, Rain Valdez joined me last year when she was nominated for her series, Razor Tongue, so I’m just excited that there’s more of us working now and I’m not the only one.”

Just last month, Laverne was announced as the new host of this show.

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Photos: Getty
Posted to: Laverne Cox

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