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CBS Doubt

CBS Drama Doubt Puts Laverne Cox in Stylish Position of Power

CBS Drama Doubt Puts Laverne Cox in Stylish Position of Power

Doubt Laverne Cox

The trans icon is making history again, in characteristically chic fashion.

In four short years, Laverne Cox has achieved many milestones in her career. In 2013, her breakthrough role as Sophia Burset on Netflix's Orange Is the New Black led to a Primetime Emmy nomination--the first for an openly transgender actor.

The following year, Cox became the first openly trans person to land the cover of Time, which, in concurrence with a cover story for The Advocate, announced her as the face of a movement. And beginning on February 15, on the new CBS legal drama Doubt, Cox will become the first trans actor to play a trans character as a series regular on broadcast TV.

And she looks the part.

Laverne was previewed in Out's November 2016 issue, which celebrated trans benchmarks in Hollywood and featured Cox on the cover alongside Candis Cayne, Zackary Drucker, and Rhys Ernst. Doubt casts the actress as the sharp-suited Cameron Wirth, an Ivy League-educated trans attorney.

Her law firm colleagues are played by Katherine Heigl and Elliott Gould. Far from a passive personality, Wirth is dubbed "The Mentor" in CBS' "first look" clip of the show. The character's narrative arc includes a love interest for season one.

Outfitted by costume designer Kate Healey, Cox portrays Wirth in an array of power suits and pencil skirts, and in Doubt's preview footage, CBS teases at the glam to come with a peek at the actress in a chic navy blazer and chunky gold jewelry.

Cox's looks on the prime-time procedural mark an extension of a virtual runway directed at her fans, whether via media coverage of her red carpet fashions or the designer duds she regularly posts to her personal Instagram (#TransIsBeautiful has been her accompanying hashtag for years).

In advance of Doubt's premiere, we caught up with Healey to discuss the show, the clothes, and the evolution of an icon.

Out: I'm sure you're excited about the new show.

Kate Healey: I am. I can't wait.

What was it like working with Laverne?

Laverne was amazing. She's so professional and so gracious that it was just a pleasure. Being the series that it was, it was a little different for her -- she had to do a lot more fittings than she's used to with other shows, and shooting is relentless. And she was just so lovely and gracious through the whole process, she was a delight to work with. We loved it.

That's great.

And we had a lot of fun, we custom-built quite a few of the jackets. We liked the silhouette of the peplum jacket on her, so we did a lot with that, pencil skirts, high-waisted skirts, and usually when we build a jacket we would build a skirt and a pair of pants, so it gave us the option to play around for the episode -- how do we feel about the scene, what would she wear? -- that sort of thing.

Can you describe some of your favorite looks that you created for her character?

We wanted to keep her elegant and classy. We gave her long chains, and we liked silk shirts with high-waisted pencil skirts or with pants. We kept her in heels most of the time. Sometimes she wore ballet flats with yoga leggings and an oversized sweater that came off the shoulder with a tank top underneath. And as far as being an attorney, what you see is dark suits, so we mixed it up we gave her some fun and lighter colors. We did greens and burgundies along with the classic "attorney" dark navy and black.


Fun fact from Laverne: This was the second blouse I wore for this scene -- I spilled beer on the first one. My friend, Dain Kalas, custom made this suit in NYC.

Where did you find inspiration for Cameron's wardrobe?

We liked fabrics that created silhouettes, so it was form-fitting and tailor-made. She's got a great figure, and she's tall, so she wears clothes really really well. And the inspiration was to keep it fresh, keep it classy, timeless and sophisticated.

Was costuming her lawyer look harder than her casual ensembles?

I didn't find it more difficult because we custom-built things. We customized some garments, like typical grays, and added lace to embellish it a little.

Did you turn to specific designers?

There were some designers that had the silhouette and fabrics we liked. Typically, it was the colors, the [materials], and what I thought would look elegant. I might see a skirt and then find a silk shirt somewhere else and think "Oh, those would look lovely together, let's try that." So, some things could be from the same designer.

Did you rely on a specific fabric while outfitting Laverne?

The story takes place in the fall in New York, and so we stayed with lightweight wool. Things with stretch helped us quite a bit, and jackets that would give shape and hold shape after dry cleaning.


Fun fact from Laverne: When we created [my character's] casual look, we loved the comfy vibes of oversized sweaters.

Are you particularly proud of a specific outfit?

There was a green skirt, and we paired it with a rust-colored silk shirt and a peplum jacket. That looked awesome on Laverne. There was also a dark blue peplum jacket with a skirt, and there was a belt on the outside that I thought was lovely. For a casual look, there was an off-the-shoulder loose knit cashmere sweater, we put a black tank under it and black yoga pants that looked awesome on her, kind of hanging out at home we did a cocktail event that she went to, it was a long black dress with a fuschia wrap; she looked amazing in that. She looked amazing in everything.


Fun fact from Laverne: This suit was custom made for me. Because I am so tall, custom pants are the best.

Before collaborating with Laverne, what vibe did you get?

It was a great vibe. She was very open to ideas and excited about the project. Laverne was eager to look at fabrics and have items custom-built.

It's groundbreaking for a trans actor to play a trans character as a series regular in a prime-time show. Was it exciting for you to be a part of that?

I was excited about it. It was a challenge because I knew things would have to be built to get the right proportions and the look.

How many episodes have you shot?

We finished in December, so we did 12, and the pilot makes it 13.

What were you working on before Doubt?

I did a drag queen's show. It was a big cast, and I didn't have a lot of time to prep. [The show] was ending. I came here and I think we only had 10 days to prepare. So it was a big challenge all around to get it up and running. I had a blast [on the drag show]; it was so much fun. I loved it. I loved everybody -- the community, the actors, everybody. It was great.

Doubt premieres Wednesday, February 15 at 10/9 Central on CBS.

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