Photo: Attitude

Transgender ‘Orange is the New Black’ star Laverne Cox has opened up on how fashion helped her to create her own identity while growing up in Alabama. She says that clothes helped her to “announce to the world” who she was and embrace herself in a new way. The actress explained that fashion helped her through that difficult period and gave her a sense of herself:

“The way I dress is really about the message I want to send out to the world about who I am. Growing up in Alabama, I was black. I was poor. I was assigned male at birth – that’s how I like to put it. These things defined me, but I’m not any of these things. Clothes were a way for me to announce to the world who I was. I am not any of these things. This is who I am.”

Laverne’s fashion sense often made a big statement, and she admits that bullies would pick on her for standing out too much. She would tell bullies that she’ll be famous someday to make them feel bad, and now her dream has come true:

“For my high school graduation, I wore a zebra robe and a pillbox hat. Running around Alabama in a zebra robe and a turban, I got bullied a lot. It was rough. When kids would bully me, I would say, ‘One day I will be rich and famous and I’ll show you.’ And that’s what got me through my childhood. It’s a crazy thing to think back on now.”