Orange Is The New Black star Laverne Cox just made history as the first transgender woman to ever star on a Cosmo cover or any mainstream African magazine. The Emmy award-winning actress is now officially a “Cosmo cover girl,” gracing the February issue of the glossy’s South Africa edition.
“In this South Africa exclusive @lavernecox stars as COSMO’s first ever openly trans cover girl! Ain’t I a woman? Yes you are and we 💞 you. ALSO, #LGBTQI+ allies and activists on Love in 2018, posted the magazine on Instagram.
Laverne stunts in the cover spread rocking rooted blonde waves and a daring cut-out bodysuit. The cover is part of the magazine’s overall #SayYesToLove campaign featuring 17 LGBTQI+ advocates calling for a celebration of love in all forms of gender identity and sexuality.
Inside, the beauty pens her own letter of love and acceptance in her own identity. “Trans women deserve to be loved out in the open and in the light,” she said. “Let go of fear and live a fun, fearless life. If I can do it, you can do it.”
That Laverne stars in the issue 42 years to the month after Beverly Johnson became the first Black woman to cover the glossy is not lost on her, either.
“Thanks Ms. Johnson for paving the way for all of the black women who have followed you over the years on Cosmo covers,” she wrote on Instagram. She also thanked other trans model pioneers like Tracey Africa for “changing beauty standards and breaking barriers for trans folks on the covers of fashion magazine’s all over the world.”