Laverne Cox Reflects on Her Hair Journey and Feeling Beautiful at Age 47: 'I Look Better Than I Probably Ever Have'

She’s an acclaimed actress, an LGBTQ+ trailblazer in Hollywood, and now, as the new brand ambassador of leading haircare brand Matrix Total Results, Laverne Cox is ready to take on the beauty industry.

Speaking with PEOPLE after announcing the partnership, the Emmy Award-winning actress gets candid about everything from maintaining her natural curls and experimenting with wigs, to feeling confident and content at age 47.

“I love Matrix’s ‘Live Your Color’ campaign so this is really exciting,” Cox (who’s attending Matrix Destination 2020, a three-day educational event for haircare professionals in Orlando, Florida, next month) tells PEOPLE. “For me, the idea of living your color is about embracing every single aspect of who I am.”

“Every shade and every color of Laverne is acceptable. It’s been such a journey for me to not orphan parts of myself, but to embrace every single color of the rainbow that is Laverne and I like to encourage everybody to do that, to bring all of you to the table,” the Rocky Horror Picture Show star says. “Live your color.”

The Alabama native emerged as a champion for the LGBTQ+ community shortly after landing the role of Litchfield Prison inmate, Sofia Burset, on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black in 2013.

In 2014, she graced the cover of Time’s now iconic “The Transgender Tipping Point” issue, and was the first trans woman to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy. Then one year later, she became the first trans woman to win a Daytime Emmy as executive producer for Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word.

“When someone partners with Laverne Cox, they are alining themselves with a message of diversity, inclusion and welcoming everyone to the table,” the Dear White People star tells PEOPLE. “There is something for everyone in the Matrix Total Results line. I wouldn’t be aligned with the brand if there wasn’t. In 2019, we have to have beauty products that work for every hair type and every skin type.”

Although she loves a good wig — and happily admits to wearing one every day! — Cox’s natural hair health has drastically improved, thanks to coconut oil and the Length Goals line by Matrix Total Results (which includes a sulfate-free shampoo, a restoring conditioner and a multi-benefit styling spray).

“I stopped relaxing my hair in 2011 becuause I had so much damage. Now, I’m committing to oiling my scalp everyday and it actually lengthens and hydrates my hair,” says Cox, who also attributes her healthy natural hair to wearing protective styles like cornrows, loose braids and braided extensions under her wig.

As an actress, Cox says she “loves having the ability to transform myself, my look, and my character with hair.”

“I’ve been playing with color a lot more and encouraging people to play with color for fun. You have too because life is short,” says Cox, who split from her boyfriend of two years Kyle Draper in June. “I’m 47 years old, I probably look better than I ever have in my life. I’m single, my career is in an amazing place, I’m living my dream and that it’s so beautiful…Live your color!”

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