"Art has consistently saved my life and sustained me," Emmy-nominated actress Laverne Cox told NBC OUT.
Speaking in front of the #LoveTravels art installation project during D.C. Pride earlier this month, Cox talked about the campaign - which is sponsored by Marriott and includes crowd-sourced works of art that showcase "an expression of love" - and explained a piece of art she created for the project.
"Fists...are about solidarity, empowerment and liberation," she said. "I love that the fist is on the transgender flag. As a black woman, the intersection of black power with trans power, feels powerful and amazing."
"I've written 'Stay in the Love' on this piece...to encourage all of my artistic friends to remember why we started being artists in the first place: because we love the arts," said Cox, who is an ambassador for the campaign.
Cox grew up in Mobile, Alabama, where she participated in the performing arts. She was involved in musical theater in high school, then went on to major in dance at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham.
It wasn't just performing arts that was an important part of Cox's upbringing and growth as an artist. Her identical twin brother, M Lamar, who portrayed the pre-transitioning Sophia (as Marcus) in Orange Is the New Black, was a visual artist. "I would even pose for him," she said.
Cox is excited for her fans to see her next television project, a remake of the 1975 cult classic "Rocky Horror Picture Show," where she plays Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Getting to sing and dance for the role, famously played by Tim Curry, "was a full-circle moment for me," she told NBC OUT.
Cox is currently focused on her blossoming career, being an LGBTQ activist and moving to Los Angeles in July to film the CBS legal drama "Doubt," co-starring Katherine Heigl. It has been reported that Cox, who plays a transgender attorney, is the first-ever transgender series regular on a national broadcast television show.
But is that true? "I think there have been a lot of [transgender] actors before me and there will be many after me, and hopefully the opportunities will be even better," Cox said. She gives immense credit to fellow working transgender actresses, including Jamie Clayton of Netflix's "Sense8."
With such a busy schedule, is she open to the opportunity of finding love? "I think that love is healing, and I certainly want love in my life and I want a special somebody to love and care for me," she said.
But marriage and kids, she added, are still out of the question. "It is wonderful that marriage equality is the law of the land, but … I don't think it's an institution for me," she said. "It's a huge responsibility to raise kids, and I am [still] trying to re-parent my inner child."