Laverne Cox reveals she almost quit acting before landing Orange Is the New Black

6 mins read


Laverne Cox is opening up about how she was very close to quitting acting before landing the role of Sophia Bursest on Orange Is the New Black.

The 49-year-old actress was part of the PaleyImpact: Salute to LGBTQ+ Pride Achievements in Television panel (via Yahoo) where she opened up about the early days of her career.

She admitted that she was at a very low point in her life, and was close to being homeless when she landed that breakthrough role. 

Almost quit: Laverne Cox is opening up about how she was very close to quitting acting before landing the role of Sophia Bursest on Orange Is the New Black

Almost quit: Laverne Cox is opening up about how she was very close to quitting acting before landing the role of Sophia Bursest on Orange Is the New Black

Low point: She admitted that she was at a very low point in her life, and was close to being homeless when she landed that breakthrough role

Low point: She admitted that she was at a very low point in her life, and was close to being homeless when she landed that breakthrough role

‘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,’ Cox said.

‘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,’ she added.

The actress continued that she was ‘devastated’ by turning 40 because her ‘life was kind of in shambles, like financially.’

Breakout: '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,' she added.

Breakout: ‘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,’ she added.

Shambles: The actress continued that she was 'devastated' by turning 40 because her 'life was kind of in shambles, like financially'

Shambles: The actress continued that she was ‘devastated’ by turning 40 because her ‘life was kind of in shambles, like financially’

She was actually preparing to go to grad school when the audition for Orange Is the New Black surfaced, and changed everything.

‘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. It changed everything,’ Cox added.

She added that not only Sophia a role of a lifetime, but it came with, ‘writing and storylines I had dreamed about.’

Audition: She was actually preparing to go to grad school when the audition for Orange Is the New Black surfaced, and changed everything

Audition: She was actually preparing to go to grad school when the audition for Orange Is the New Black surfaced, and changed everything

Writing: She added that not only Sophia a role of a lifetime, but it came with, 'writing and storylines I had dreamed about'

Writing: She added that not only Sophia a role of a lifetime, but it came with, ‘writing and storylines 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,’ she added.

The hard work paid off, as she became the first trans actor to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in any acting category in 2013.

‘There was a space opened up. 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,’ she added.

Historic: The hard work paid off, as she became the first trans actor to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in any acting category in 2013

Historic: The hard work paid off, as she became the first trans actor to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in any acting category in 2013

She added, though, that there was a performance in 2007 that made her truly realize a career as a trans actor was possible. 

‘I’ve said this many, many times, but it really was 2007 when Candis Cayne became the first openly transgender actor to have a recurring role on a primetime television show,’ she said.

‘That show was Dirty Sexy Money and it changed my life because it made me believe that it was possible to be openly trans and to have a career as an actor,’ she added.

Possible: She added, though, that there was a performance in 2007 that made her truly realize a career as a trans actor was possible

Possible: She added, though, that there was a performance in 2007 that made her truly realize a career as a trans actor was possible

Panel: 'I've said this many, many times, but it really was 2007 when Candis Cayne became the first openly transgender actor to have a recurring role on a primetime television show,' she said

Panel: ‘I’ve said this many, many times, but it really was 2007 when Candis Cayne became the first openly transgender actor to have a recurring role on a primetime television show,’ she said

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog