MJ Rodriguez, “Pose” Star and First Emmy Nominated Transgender Actress

American actress MJ Rodriguez became the first transgender actress to be nominated in the “Best Actress in a Drama Series” category at the Emmy Awards. The opportunity for Numéro to look back on his career, from his adolescence spent in the ballrooms to his role in “Pose” by Ryan Murphy.

MJ Rodriguez in Season 2 of Ryan Murphy’s “Pose” (2017).

In an interview for Vice in October 2020, Michaela Jaé “MJ” Rodriguez said: “ We broke through the glass ceiling, but it still hasn’t collapsed. Here’s how the 30-year-old actress defined the success of the Pose series , the historic drama that launched her career – and the world’s first series to cast so many transgender actors. In the series created by Ryan Murphy , she plays Blanca Evangelista, the manager of a New York ballroom house suffering from AIDS. While she surprises in a role combining ferocity and vulnerability, the actress also pays homage to the culture of the ball. Places of artistic encounters on the one hand, where dance competitions andDragshows , ballrooms are above all places inseparable from queer culture, where transgender people can express themselves and benefit from emotional support. An environment so welcoming that those in charge of the houses are called “mothers” or “fathers”…

A role cut out for MJ Rodriguez , who is keen to pay tribute to all his makeshift “parents”, who give their lives to heal the damage caused by a society plagued by homophobia and transphobia. Because the actress knows these places out of time where ostracized people live. At the age of 14, after a modest childhood spent in New Jersey practicing dance, she discovered ballroom culture in New York, where she learned voguing. Her ambition was then built around her love for the stage, which took her to Broadway, where she took on the features of Angel Dumont Schunard in the musical Rent, before beginning her transition in 2012. Followed by four years of small roles, before playing, in 2016, the character of Sister Boy in the seriesLuke Cage : This is the first time that a transgender person has been cast in the Marvel Universe . The actress then puts a high point to embody characters hitherto under-represented. Thus, in the independent film Saturday Church (2017), MJ Rodriguez takes on the features of Ebony, a teenage girl who explores her gender identity through her evolution in ballrooms . This role will earn him a nomination at the Tribeca Film Festival.


MJ Rodriguez, “Pose” Star and First Emmy Nominated Transgender Actress

Like Laverne Cox , star of Orange Is The New Black , MJ Rodriguez is one of the pioneers in the progressive occupation of the cinematic landscape by transgender people. “ Our roles were until then limited to those of drags queens and prostitutes ”, she confides for Vice in 2020. Until her historic nomination at the Emmy Awards, on July 13, for her role in Pose, the actress has never stopped showing her support for the LGBTQ + community. She has never hesitated, either, to defend the condition of black transgender women, who, according to her, are still discriminated against within their own ethnic community. Committed and driven by unwavering determination, MJ Rodriguez has become one of the emblematic faces of the fight against all forms of discrimination. And if she shines with her sense of style on the red carpet and details her beauty routine on Vogue US’s YouTube channel , she exudes her commitment to each of her artistic projects. More recently, the actress has rediscovered her childhood sweetheart – music – and delivered a debut single, between pop and RnB, titled Something To Say., a real ode to tolerance.


73rd Emmy Awards, September 20, 2021 in Los Angeles.


Sean Mitchell

Author at Pynck

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