Laverne Cox
"Orange Is the New Black" star Laverne Cox will appear in Allure magazine's nude issue. The 30-year-old revealed that, after turning the shoot down twice, she decided it was something she had to do. Reuters

“Orange Is the New Black” star Laverne Cox is baring it all for Allure’s annual nude issue. The 30-year-old revealed to the fashion magazine that after she “said no initially, thought about it, and said no again,” she decided the shoot was something she needed to do. Cox said she hoped that by shedding her clothing and celebrating her body she could inspire other black and transgender women to gain confidence and realize their beauty.

“I felt this could be really powerful for the communities that I represent,” she told the magazine. “Black women are not often told that we’re beautiful unless we align with certain standards. Trans women certainly are not told we’re beautiful.”

Cox admitted that her own insecurities also played a role in taking on the May issue's sexy spread, which was shot by photographer Norman Jean Roy. She claimed that in the past she tried to “cover and hide,” but now felt it was time to fully own her body. She said she hoped that by doing the shoot she could help other women start “embracing and loving everything” about their own bodies.

“There’s beauty in the things we think are imperfect,” Cox said. “It sounds very cliché, but it’s true.”

Following the shoot, Cox took to Instagram to thank everyone at Allure for helping her “feel comfortable taking off my clothes.” The actress added that Roy was “a genius,” and gave special recognition to makeup artist Hung Vanngo.

Since exploding onto the scene in 2013 as Sophia in “OITNB” Season 1, Cox has been an advocate for both black women and members of the trans community. Last May, she made history by appearing on the cover of Time magazine in conjunction with an article titled “The Transgender Tipping Point: America’s next civil rights frontier.” The publication also named her one of its 100 Most Influential People, along with names like Barack Obama and Kanye West.