Laverne Cox – who made history last week with the first ever trans Barbie doll – has celebrated turning 50 with a body positive poolside video.
The actor, producer, writer and LGBTQ+ advocate shared a clip of herself modelling a bikini beside a pool to a complication of songs including Party Like It's Your Birthday and Barbie Girl.
"50...This is what it look like," the Orange Is the New Black star wrote to her 5.7 million Instagram followers.
"Happy birthday to me #TransIsBeautiful #ProtectTransKids #Fendace."
Many fellow celebs wished her a happy birthday, including Perez Hilton, Mila Jam, Lily Aldridge and Zackary Drucker.
Meanwhile, fans commented, "Happy Birthday Hun! 50 is a powerful year! Looking wonderful!", "You inspire me and countless others to no end, thank you! Much love on your special day!", and "Happy birthday beautiful, stunning, fantastic, inspiring QUEEN!".
Cox also matched her newly released Barbie's outfit as she celebrated both her milestone birthday and the launch of the doll, with an event that made her "Barbie party dreams come true".
Sharing a clip of the birthday bash to Instagram, Laverne can be seen truly living in a Barbie world, with a Barbie themed cake, setting, bar, photo booth, and everything else...
This comes after toy brand Mattel honoured Cox – also an Emmy-winner and the first transgender woman of colour to have a leading role on a scripted TV show – by launching a doll in her likeness in the Barbie Tribute Collection, "to help amplify her message of moving beyond societal expectations to live more authentically".
Cox, who turned 50 on May 29, said in a video, "Now kids get to dream with a Laverne Cox barbie, the first transgender Barbie," as she recalled wanting a doll as a child, and not being allowed one. She later bought and played with one in adult life to help heal her 'inner child', before he mother then sent her one for Christmas, an experience she describes as "deeply and beautifully healing".
"Thank you to everyone at @mattel for all the love you poured into creating her," she also wrote on social media. "And thank you for this moment for the trans and lgbtq+ community in truly challenging times particularly for trans kids. I am so deeply humbled and I hope this doll will be a beacon of hope and possibility for Barbie fans and beyond of all ages."
“It’s been a dream for years to work with Barbie to create my own doll,” she also said in a statement. “I can’t wait for fans to find my doll on shelves and have the opportunity to add a Barbie doll modelled after a transgender person to their collection. I hope that people can look at this Barbie and dream big like I have in my career. The space of dreaming and manifesting is such a powerful source and leads you to achieve more than what you originally thought was possible.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to celebrate award-winning actress, producer, writer and LGBTQ+ rights trailblazer Laverne Cox with a doll,” said Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls, Mattel. “We are proud to highlight the importance of inclusion and acceptance at every age and to recognize Laverne’s significant impact on culture with a Tribute Collection Barbie.”
Made by the Barbie Signature team directly in collaboration with her, they describe the design as a "triple-threat ensemble", with which she can serve multiple red-carpet-ready looks by layering on and off the different pieces.
The doll wears an oxblood red faux leather corset, trimmed with satin ribbon on all the seams, with an oxblood red tulle dress draping over a glittering holographic bodysuit. She has matching heel boots, silvery earrings, and dramatic hair and makeup to complete the look.
As well as honouring her 50th birthday with a doll, Barbie announced they "are proud to celebrate Laverne’s milestone birthday with a donation to @TransFamilySOS because everyone deserves to feel safe, seen, and celebrated for who they are".
The organisation helps transgender and gender nonconforming peoples across the nation find safe spaces, health insurance, free peer-to-peer support groups across various age groups and free Family Engagement Sessions to ensure a supportive and affirming home life.
The doll designed by Carlyle Nuera was released on 25 May 2022, priced at $40.00 (around £31).
Watch: Laverne Cox explains why she's stopped lying about her age on The Ellen Show