After her performance in Better Than Chocolate, Cox was offered a number of other queer roles, but nothing approached Chocolate‘s positive portrayal of a lesbian. "[The roles] were all like the woman who’s a lesbian because her dad left or because her boyfriend smacked her around, or [was a lesbian] because of some sort of male trauma, and then she was vindictive," Cox explained. "I don’t want to have any part in making it look as though lesbians are in some way women who just can’t get it right with a man, and/or distrust or dislike men."
Cox was indignant about the stereotypical parts she was offered. "I found it really insulting," she admitted. "The only thing that came along after that that I had any interest in was Nikki and Nora; that was the first positive portrayal â€¦ I’d seen in TV and film for awhile."
Nikki and Nora, from South of Nowhere producer Nancylee Myatt, would have been the first network drama to feature a lesbian couple (two New Orleans detectives who were partners on and off the police force) in the leading roles. A pilot was filmed and all signs pointed toward distribution, but unfortunately the series was not picked up â€” something that Cox attributes to the conservative political climate in the United States in 2004.
Though Cox, a Toronto native, has been acting for some time now, she actually got her start in the dance world. "I actually thought I was going to be a dancer," Cox said. "I went to a performing arts high school and did theater and dance. I realized that dancers have an even rougher road than actors do, and their careers â€” for the majority â€” can be over by the time they’re 30."
Cox discovered her passion for performance and dance by watching old films. "I fell in love with dance watching old Hollywood song-and-dance films, like Fred Astaire movies," she recalled, "and one morning I woke up and said â€¦ wait â€¦ they don’t make those anymore! What am I going to do?" So she studied theater, worked her way into roles in national productions such as Twelfth Night and Road, and began acting in commercials.
She modestly attributes her success to having a keen sense of determination. "You know," Cox explained, "you put your head down and keep pushing, and things just happen. Half of the battle of being an actress is perseverance â€” it’s just sticking around longer than anybody else."
Though she still loves dance and harbors dreams of one day performing in a musical, she’s set on her career. "I loved it, but I knew it wasn’t something I could be doing when I turned 60 or 70," Cox said. "I can act until I’m not breathing, you know?"
And the actress is happy working in either the film or the TV medium, provided that the material is good. "I prefer to do the best work I can. I’m happy doing great TV and great film."
Blood Ties airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. EST on Lifetime.