Laverne Cox might have been genuinely surprised at her Emmy Award nomination but fans weren’t. The 48-year-old actress joked with ESSENCE that she’s not quite Viola Davis level (one of her acting idols) and still hasn’t seen the full potential of her acting, but she’s surely been making waves on our screens for years.
A women’s rights advocate and an activist in the LGBTQ+ community, Cox puts her skin to the test — and on the line — every time she stands up for equality by refusing to be ignored, or unseen, and by showing up in the world as her genuine self.
So when ESSENCE sat down to chat with her about her partnership with Gold Bond for the new #ChampionYourSkin campaign and all things beauty and Emmys, it was clear that she’s passionate about every project in which she invests her time. And during these unprecedented times even something as simple as hydrating your skin can remind you to take care of yourself and others.
What does it mean to you to be a skin champion?
Being a skin champion starts with feeling good in your skin. And then once we feel good in our skin, we can go out into the world to make it a better place. That is what the #ChampionYourSkin campaign is about. To be of service, to make the world a better place. And skin champions need a routine that can keep up.
I’m on the go a lot. And I’m not one of those girls who sits around in a face mask, believe it or not. I like to keep it simple. And what I love about Gold Bond is that they create products that work. And I don’t have to apply tons of it. And I get the moisture and the healing of my skin that I need to keep it moving and to get about the work that I have to do in the world.
I think people don’t talk enough about how having hydrated skin can be that much more important than having a full beat or a sickening wig.
When you think about just the overall health of our skin and hair, moisture is so important. Our skin needs to be hydrated, our hair needs to be hydrated, our bodies need to be hydrated. And so I’m glad to be partnering with a brand that acknowledges that and also wants to celebrate folks who are out there putting their skin to the test every single day.
Beauty and wellness are so necessary but this year has been so crazy that it can feel frivolous to indulge in.
Self-love has been a process for me. And I’ve had some moments where I have been very challenged and have not felt like at my very best. I had to do some work, and I had to figure out what that was about. And it was a reminder to me that I cannot really be of service in the world if I don’t feel good in my own skin. This moment has crystallized to me what’s important, and [that] you can have luxury without frivolity.
You were genuinely shocked about your Emmy nomination. How did you feel when you finally accepted that it was real?
I was shocked mainly because I was only in that one episode, in only two scenes [in the final season of Orange Is The New Black]. But I’m honored and I feel a charge to live up to what it means to be a four-time Emmy nominated actor now. I really want to tell stories. I want to realize my potential as an actress and this Emmy nomination has really inspired me to do that.
You have Bad Hair coming to Hulu in October where you play the stylist who puts the “bad weave” in the main character’s hair. Have you ever had some bad hair horror moments of your own?
I went through a period when I started dyeing my own hair roots because I was, of course, going blonde like Beyoncé. One time I was bleaching my hair and I just went to check on it. I put my fingers through the hair and it just started coming out. And I just started screaming. The bleach had completely burned my hair off. There was maybe half an inch of hair left. It was awful. But that’s what I got for bleaching my own hair. There’s been a lot of moments over the years so we’ve come a long way. I’m [just glad] that I had those moments outside of the public eye.