"Going through life, you try to cover and hide, but it doesn't really work," the 30-year-old Orange Is the New Black star explains. "I said no initially, thought about it, and said no again."
Cox says she later felt it was something she had to do. "But I'm a black transgender woman," she says. "I felt this could be really powerful for the communities that I represent."
And represent she did! Check out her gorgeous nude photo.
Thanks to everyone at @allure magazine for making me feel so comfortable taking off my clothes for the camera for your May issue. #NormanJeanRoy you're a genius. #CelebrateYourBody #TransIsBeautiful #OITNB @oitnb #BodiesThatMatter shout out to By @hungvanngo "Beautiful actress @LaverneCox bares it all for @allure magazine May 2015 photographed by #NormanJeanRoy Editor @paulcavaco Nails #AprilForeman Hair @teddycharles35 & Makeup by me #HungVanngo #LaverneCox 😊To achieve the beautiful sheen on the skin, thanks to @ctilburymakeup #SuperModelBody highlighter & @Tatcha indigo soothing silk body butter ❤️" via @PhotoRepost_app
"Black women are not often told that we're beautiful unless we align with certain standards," Cox says. "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."
VIDEO: Laverne Cox Strips Off Her Makeup in John Legend's 'You and I (Nobody In the World)'
Further inspiring, the actress adds, "There's beauty in the things we think are imperfect. That sounds very cliche, but it's true."
Cox didn't just pose nude to inspire others, she too admits that she needed this. "I honestly just want to make myself happy most, and if other people like it, then that's great. If they don't, then I'm still happy."
Other stars to pose for Allure's nude issue include Furious 7 star Jordana Brewster, Vikings actress Katheryn Winnick, Sleepy Hollow's Nicole Beharie and Terminator Genisys' Sandrine Holt. "I'm having more fun posing nude or being in a bikini or doing love scenes than I ever did before," Brewster says. "Because it hit me: This is fleeting, and in a couple of years I won't be able to do this, so just enjoy it."