Laverne Cox Feels Powerful When Her Nails Look Like This

InStyle January - Laverne Cox
Photo: Dan MacMedan/Getty Images

Why the actress says sparkly “claws” are (almost) better than diamonds...

I STARTED GETTING MANICURES... To make my hands look prettier. I don’t like my hands, to be perfectly honest. I started #TransIsBeautiful on social media to empower trans people to embrace the things that make them beautifully trans. For me, it’s my deep voice and big hands. It’s an ongoing process. Getting my nails done is part of practicing self-love. Growing up, I used to paint my mom’s nails. It was such a bonding moment.

InStyle January - Laverne Cox

A FRESH MANICURE MAKES ME FEEL... Powerful. A lot of it has to do with the shape. I played a lawyer on TV last year, and I was going more square. When I was done [filming], I was like, “I want my stiletto nails back! I want my claws!”

MY GO-TO RED-CARPET NAIL POLISH IS... Sparkly, because it’s like jewelry. I love diamonds, don’t get me wrong! But it’s stressful to be wearing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry. I’m scared I’ll lose it. Glitter nail polish is a stand-in for me.

InStyle January - Laverne Cox
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; TIPS; Courtesy (2)

Orly Celebrate Yourself by Laverne Cox Nail Polish Set, $49/6;

MY DAILY BEAUTY ROUTINE IS... Really basic. It’s all about moisturizing and wearing sunscreen. I wash my face with baby shampoo. I’ve tried other things, but I just love it. My dermatologist thinks I’m crazy, but it works.

THE BEST BEAUTY ADVICE FROM THE SET OF ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK IS... From Tanya Wright, who plays my wife. She has this amazing line called Hairiette, which is for black women with natural hair. Underneath my weave I have a big ole Afro, so we talk about how to take care of it.

VIDEO: Laverne Cox Finally Met Her Queen, Beyoncé

MY BEAUTY ICONS ARE... Strong women. Beyoncé is the queen, and J.Lo is just divine. Adele has gorgeous nails. There are so many chic, dignified black women from back in the day that inspire me, like Josephine Baker, Diahann Carroll, and Dorothy Dandridge.

For more from stories like this, pick up the January issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download Dec. 8.

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