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Laverne Cox Tells Kevin Bacon How “Footloose” Inspired Her: 'If It's On TV, I Watch It'

On the ‘Six Degrees With Kevin Bacon’ podcast, Laverne Cox explained why ‘Footloose’ and ‘Flashdance’ were formative childhood influences

<p>Rodin Eckenroth/Getty, Jason Mendez/Getty</p> Laverne Cox; Kevin Bacon

Rodin Eckenroth/Getty, Jason Mendez/Getty

Laverne Cox; Kevin Bacon

Laverne Cox is now only one degree of separation from Kevin Bacon.

The Daytime Emmy Award-winning actress joined Tuesday’s episode of the Six Degrees With Kevin Bacon podcast, meeting Bacon for the first time and beginning their conversation with love for his 1984 breakout Footloose.

“I was in L.A. over the weekend and Footloose was on TV,” said Cox, 51.

Bacon, 65, joked, “I was in that.”

Cox added that 1983’s Flashdance, another favorite dance-heavy film, came on right after Footloose. “My entire elementary school life flashed before my eyes!” she recalled. “It was such a moment. I know you've done many things since Footloose, but that is how I discovered you.”

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She added, “If it's on TV, I have to watch it.”

Related: Kevin Bacon Is Returning to High School Where Footloose Was Filmed for Their Prom: 'Let's Dance'

“In 2024 it'll be the 40th anniversary of making that movie,” said Bacon of Footloose, which celebrated 40 years this February. Calling that fact “scary,” he said, “I'm not quite sure how to process that yet.”

<p>Everett</p> Lori Singer and Kevin Bacon in "Footloose"

Everett

Lori Singer and Kevin Bacon in "Footloose"

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Cox, who was later joined by fellow transgender rights activist Chase Strangio, began the episode by looking back on childhood inspirations. “I grew up in Mobile, Alabama,” said the Orange Is the New Black star. “And when I started walking, I started dancing.”

Footloose, Flashdance and the 1980 musical Fame were formative influences on her future life as an artist, Cox explained. “I begged my mother to put me into dance classes. And finally, when I was in third grade, I started studying tap and jazz.”

Related: Laverne Cox Dances in a Semi-Sheer Gucci Bodysuit to Janet Jackson Song: 'We Love You!'

She also revealed some of the hardships of being a “very femme child” and assigned male at birth. “I was bullied as a kid, you know, beaten up and chased home from school every day,” she recalled. “So when I would dance, I would create these characters and have music in my head and I would go someplace else. And it really saved my life as a kid.”

Early dance performances included choreographing “Manhunt,” Karen Kamon’s number from Flashdance, for a talent show. “I've always been a performer and I always knew that I would transition to acting even when I was a dancer,” said Cox, who studied both at Indiana University Bloomington and Marymount Manhattan College.

“After I graduated and realized I needed to stop being in denial about being trans,” she shared, “I was like, ‘Well, there's no trans actors.’ This was the mid- to late-’90s. ‘What am I gonna do?’”

<p> Emma McIntyre/Getty</p> Laverne Cox on Feb. 24

Emma McIntyre/Getty

Laverne Cox on Feb. 24

Related: Laverne Cox on Dreamy Hamptons Staycation with Boyfriend: 'Any Time I'm with My Guy It's Magical' (Exclusive)

Cox went on to become the first openly transgender person nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award, for playing Sophia Burset on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, in 2014. She's danced and performed in multiple musical projects since, including 2011's Musical Chairs, 2016's The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again and live on Lip Sync Battle

Bacon launched his Six Degrees podcast, which airs new episodes on Tuesdays, as part of non-profit SixDegrees.org. Among the actor-producer’s upcoming credits are Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F with Eddie Murphy and MaXXXine with Mia Goth. 

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