A true trailblazer.
The 2020 Emmys are this Sunday, and among those competing for a coveted golden statue is actress, producer and activist Laverne Cox, who caught up with E!'s Justin Sylvester on Friday, Sept. 18's Daily Pop ahead of the awards show.
The four-time Emmy nominee is up for Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series for the second year in a row, and now that she's over the initial shock, she's ready to raise the bar for herself even higher.
"This year when I got the Emmy nomination I was obviously very surprised—we all saw it live on television with the brilliant Leslie Jones—I said, now that I'm a four-time Emmy-nominated actress, I need to work really hard to live up to that!" the Orange Is the New Black star explained. "So I'm really excited to work harder and get better at my craft, and thank you Television Academy for the inspiration."
This sense of clarity wasn't immediate, though. In fact, Laverne admitted to feeling a little lost in the beginning.
"It's like, okay, how do I process this?" she said. "So many of the actors who I love have been nominated this many times. Do I need to become more regal? Do I need to be more Cicely Tyson-esque? Or more Phylicia Rashad-esque?"
Ultimately, she realized she "just needs to be Laverne."
"But I definitely am inspired to work harder and live up to this amazing honor," she added.
Laverne herself has undoubtedly inspired others, especially following the 2014 Emmys, when she became the first openly transgender person to be nominated.
"It's beautiful to make history. It really is. But it's really not about that," Laverne explained. "It's about the people who follow...If you can open a door, other people have to walk through. And for six years, I was the only one."
The second-ever nominee, Rain Valdez, is competing for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series this year (check out her interview with E! here), and she's previously cited Laverne as inspiration for pursuing acting.
In addition to stopping by Daily Pop, Laverne is also set to host E! Countdown to the Red Carpet: The 2020 Emmy Awards at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 pm PT on Sunday.
Watch the complete Daily Pop interview with Laverne—in which she also discusses the Netflix documentary Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen and her new partnership with Gold Bond—in the above clip!