Laverne Cox, who rose to fame in the hit Netflix show “Orange Is the New Black” as Sophia, poses nude in a sexy black and white photo for Allure magazine’s The Naked Truth spread.When Allure approached Cox about doing a nude photo shoot for its May issue, the actress became uncharacteristically shy.  “I said no initially, thought about it, and said no again,” she tells the magazine. “But I’m a black transgender woman. I felt this could be really powerful for the communities that I represent.”

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Indeed it is.

The tasteful black-and-white shot has Cox, 30, baring almost all – and joining stars including Jordana Brewster and Nicole Behari for the photo spread, which includes the women talking frankly about their bodies.The 30-year-old actor, who became the first transgender actor to grace the cover of Time magazine as well as many others, says she wasn’t keen on posing nude until she thought deeply about the message she would send.

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“Going through life, you try to cover and hide, but it doesn’t really work,” she says. “Black women are not often told that we’re beautiful unless we align with certain standards,” she continues. “Trans women certainly are not told we’re beautiful. Seeing a black transgender woman embracing and loving everything about herself might be inspiring to some other folks. There’s beauty in the things we think are imperfect. That sounds very cliché, but it’s true.”

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Yet Cox, who was just named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People, said that beyond posing to send a message, she decided to participate for a more personal reason: to please herself.  “I honestly just want to make myself happy most, and if other people like it, then that’s great,” she says. “If they don’t, then I’m still happy.”

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