Feeling Seen: Mj Rodriguez on Historic Emmy Nod for ‘Pose’
WASHINGTON — Learning from its historic Emmy nominationMj Rodriguez of “Pose” had one overwhelming feeling: “I felt so seen.”
“I felt represented and I felt seen,” said Rodriguez, who scored the first major acting Emmy nod for a transperformer. “And… more accepted than I’ve felt in a long time. I had the feeling that my colleagues see me now, my acting colleagues see me, and the people who are surrounded by art see me, and how much I want to give the world the love for my profession and my art.”
The name for Rodriguez, who plays stay-at-home mom and nurse Blanca on the FX show about ballroom culture in the ’80s and ’90s that recently concluded its third and final season, was one of many. nods for the show, including Best Actor for Billy Porter and Best Drama. The Steven Canals and Ryan Murphy series broke through with the casting of transgender actors as trans characters.
Rodriguez, 30, spoke in an interview on Zoom Tuesday from Cannes, France, where she attends the film festival. It had been a long night: she hadn’t been able to sleep, waiting. “There was a lot going through my head,” she said. “I was up until 8 in the morning.”
When the news came: “My mother and my godmother (sat) at the dinner table. And the moment my name was announced, I just screamed and broke. And my mother grabbed me. She liked to throw me around. I gave her a hug. She turned me around a bit. And I remember falling into my friend’s arms and just crying. Tears of joy, tears of happiness.”
Rodriguez and her family were not alone in their joy or recognition of the magnitude of the moment. Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD, the LGBTQ+ organization, called her nomination “a breakthrough for transgender women in Hollywood, and a long-awaited recognition for her groundbreaking performance over the past three seasons of ‘Pose'” — a show that, Ellis said, has raised the bar for trans representation on television and changed the way viewers around the world understand the trans community.”
The group, along with dozens of other organizations, had joined in an open letter calling on Emmy voters to show their support for the show and especially its transgender and non-binary actors.
Rodriguez said she was grateful to know “that we are finally being seen as we need to be seen, and that our stories can now be seen as human stories. It just opens up the diaspora, opens everything up even more. can be told simply because of this happening.”
She said she was thinking specifically of young people, “who can look at us and see that we are people and that we have so much to offer and that we can be looked up to and that there are dreams that are available because we let them to happen.”
Of her fellow castmates and crew members, she said, “We gave as a team. I always say, teamwork makes the dream come true, and that’s exactly what we did. The family on that show is what we built.”
Rodriguez is working on her next project, a comedy for Apple TV+ with Maya Rudolph, with the working title “Loot”.
“I just feel like the sky is limitless,” she said of her professional future. “I feel like there are so many more options. The world – it’s opened up, and I can’t even express how happy I am to know that I will be able to be a part of more amazing pieces of work… and just put out good products. I know the future looks like this.”
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