Laverne Cox has hit out at the "cruel" treatment given to transgender prisoners.

Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox

The 45-year-old actress is known for her portrayal of transgender inmate Sophia Burset in Netflix drama series 'Orange is the New Black', and she was determined to put in a good performance to "honour" prisoners who are spending their jail time in solitary confinement because of their sexuality.

She said: "This storyline meant so much to mean, and I wanted to get it right as much as possible because there are transgender people all over the country who are incarcerated, who are spending most of their time in solitary confinement.

"That is the way in which most trans people are housed in prison. And I believe solitary confinement is a cruel and unusual punishment, and there's psychologically emotional affects to that.

"And I wanted to tell that story and honour the lives of the folks who are experiencing that as much as we could."

Laverne was up for the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama award at last weekend's Creative Arts Emmys, and while she lost out to Alexis Bledel - who won the accolade for her performance in 'The Handmaid's Tale' - she was pleased to be recognised.

She said: "I'm so grateful that the Academy acknowledged this work."

Another person who has noticed Laverne's work lately is Beyonce, who recently signed the star up as a spokeswoman for her fitness clothing line, Ivy Park, a job the actress admits she couldn't believe she has landed.

Speaking to 'Entertainment Tonight', she added: "When we got the call it was, I was like, 'Ahhh!'

"You scream, you scream and then it's like okay I gotta work out harder and prep, so [when] we do this photoshoot, we bring it the way that Bey deserves and the way Ivy Park deserves."