If you have not yet indulged in a binge-watching session of the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black, consider this a warning: You are missing out on the best show of the summer.
Inspired by the true story of a middle-class woman sent to prison for a crime she committed years earlier, Orange Is the New Black dives deep into the lives of a diverse cast of female inmates. These women’s layered stories are revealed through an extremely effective use of flashbacks, creating a prism effect as their past reflects off their present, their relationships with one other and, ultimately, the viewer. In a television landscape punctuated by male antiheroes, such a compelling collection of antiheroines is a revelation.
The show has already garnered praise for its exploration of the prison system, and for its handling of race, class, gender and sexuality. However, it’s transgender inmate Sophia Burset that is inspiring a conversation not only around transgender persons in prison, but transgender characters and the actors who portray them.
In Orange Is the New Black, Sophia is played by actress, producer and transgender activist Laverne Cox. After making history as the first African-American transgender woman to appear on a reality television program (VH-1’s I Want to Work for Diddy), she became the first African-American transgender woman to produce and star in her own TV show, (VH-1’s TRANSform Me). Her performance as Sophia is a standout on a series showcasing one of the strongest ensemble casts around.
Yesterday, Cox spoke with reporters about her experience as a transgender actress, her connection to her character and the pressure to be an inspiration for others. Check out some highlights of that conversation below.
More, AFTER THE JUMP...